Former head coach Pete Carroll spoke at USC on Wednesday night, discussing his "Win Forever" philosophy with hundreds of students in attendance. The beloved, charismatic Carroll captivated his audience with jokes about the 2006 national championship, what inspired him to change his approach to coaching, his most recent success in leading the Seattle Seahawks to a Super Bowl and of course, his extraordinary stint in Troy.
When it came to USC matters, Carroll had much to say. Most importantly, he left those in attendance with a gem of a quote regarding new head coach Steve Sarkisian.
As we know, that decision ultimately fell on the deaf ears of former athletic director Mike Garrett, who chose Carroll's other prodigy, Lane Kiffin, instead.
Carroll elaborated on Sarkisian, speaking vary favorably of what he offers USC as a head coach:
Judging just by how well USC closed on the recruiting trail once Sarkisian got hired, it is clear that Carroll's opinion of Sarkisian holds some water.
Sarkisian's hire was met with much derision from fans and the media alike, but in just a few months, both groups have warmed to him. Sarkisian handles the L.A. media scene much better than Kiffin ever did, and the glimpse of his skills he has already shown the Trojan faithful has been enough to quiet their grumblings.
Thanks to a ringing endorsement from none other than the man responsible for leading USC to its dynasty in the early 2000s, it's likely that the collective opinion of Sarkisian will continue to tilt in the new coach's favor.
Sarkisian himself made a cameo appearance at the event, talking with students about the change in attitude he wants to bring to USC. Not nearly as shackled by sanctions as his predecessor Kiffin was, Sarkisian made it clear he is ready to move the Trojans out of those doldrums and into a new era, with a new sense of optimism.
"The focus is on what we can do, not what we can’t do," Sarkisian said to the crowd, referring to the scholarship limitations. "It's not about the 70 scholarship kids we have, it's about the talent they have."
That's the kind of attitude USC needs as it gets started under a new regime.
Carroll also discussed the sanctions and offered some optimistic advice about how USC can continue to handle them through this final year of scholarship restrictions:
His support of Sarkisian could not have come at a better time. The Trojans kick off spring ball in two weeks, and Sarkisian needs all of the good vibes he can get as he tries to get a feel for his new team. Now, it will be up to him to be the head coach Carroll expects him to be, as opposed to the one Trojan fans fear they will get.
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