So, What's Up with Pete Carroll?
The past few months have produced a new brand of Pete Carroll that many college football fans haven’t seen. At least, not in such a concentrated amount of time.
The venerable USC coach has always been known as one of college football’s few “good guys”. Always positive, affable, energetic. For god’s sakes he goes out in the middle of the night into L.A.’s numerous gang turfs to talk urban youth into leaving their dangerous lifestyles behind.
But nowadays, it seems he’s a bit more brash than normal.
First Carroll had a conniption when former Trojan gunslinger Mark Sanchez, a junior last season, declared early for the NFL Draft. At the announcement Carroll appeared to reluctantly shake the Jets draftee’s hand and was clearly miffed at Sanchez’ decision. Wasn’t exactly the Pete Carroll we all know, or knew.
Late last month during the NCAA investigation into the Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo violations saga (which has resulted in the recent resignation of basketball coach Tim Floyd), the always competitive Carroll, essentially, stated “come get some” to the NCAA. During the coaches tour for boosters Carroll said he always wanted to construct a program where "everyone was coming after us" because such is the price paid "for being on top."
Of course, he could have just been playing to the boosters. However it’s one thing to call out other teams, it’s quite another to call out the NCAA.
Then during the Pac-10 meetings, when UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel asked for a coaches vote on trying to create an exemption for coaches children to the rule that no one under 18-years-old is allowed on the sidelines during games, Carroll was the lone opponent to Neuheisel’s proposition.
Sure, there is a liability issue, but the Trojans aren’t exactly the benchmark for keeping order on the sidelines.
It’s not necessarily bad what he’s been doing. It’s just...well, for Carroll, it’s just strange.
Piecing this all together, it makes you wonder what’s up with Pete. Don’t get me wrong, I like the him, and I still think he’s still one of the good guys, something college football needs more of. But this seemingly trivial sequence of events makes the wheels turn a bit.
Perhaps the NCAA investigation is getting to him. Perhaps it’s the thought that maybe, just maybe, the Trojans’ Pac-10 title streak may come to an end this season. Not out of the question - they’ve lost their QB, much of their obstinate defense and both coordinators. They’ve lost a ton. Maybe Neuheisel is getting to him on the recruiting trail. Maybe it’s growing frustration of being left out of the BCS title game. Who knows.
One thing’s for certain. Something’s been going on with Carroll.
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