Pete Carroll: Smart, Aggressive, Or Just Plain Lucky?

Doug UrschelCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans looks on before taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes during the college football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 13, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Napoleon (not the ice cream) Bonaparte was asked if he wanted his generals to be smart or aggressive.  He replied with just one word, "lucky."

Think whatever you want about Pete Carroll, but his record with the Trojans is 88-15.  That includes six losses his first season.  He has the highest winning percentage of any active coach with five years experience.

There is some luck in play there.

There's something else about Pete Carroll that everyone who wants to criticize his decisions should consider.

Everything in Carroll's life is a contest.  He'll make throwing a piece of paper into a trash can a contest.  

It really doesn't matter what's behind door No. 2, because he's already figured out how to best use it in life.

I saw an article in the Los Angeles Times severely critical of his decision to start Barkley, but I know that Carroll laughs at such things.

Pete Carroll's motto is "Win Forever."  Win Forever signs are posted all around the USC campus.  Pete Carroll invented that motto, that phrase.

Does anyone really believe that Pete Carroll is going to do something that hurts his team's chance of winning?

Teams in the Big-12, Big-10, SEC and throughout the PAC-10 might have a yearly saying or verse.  Win Forever is much more than that.

It is what Pete Carroll has become.

Pete Carroll knows that he might well be in the best moment of his life.  He celebrates each second in an effort to have it last as long as he can. 

This special moment comes, but once in a lifetime.  He found that out.  Carroll's moment is on and off the field.  He has never experienced this before.  He wants it to last forever, but it won't.

You may find Carroll touching the ground, a building or a fence.  He wants to keep that moment, that place.

He's not going to do anything that will risk that moment.  He's not done with his special time.

John Morton took over for Sarkisian as the offensive coordinator.  This will be Morton's third  year at USC.  He had been with the Saints of the NFL.

Jeremy Bates took over as the quarterbacks' coach.  He was at Denver in the NFL last year.

Carroll, Morton, and Bates came to the conclusion that Barkley should start. 

USC will be just fine.