Two promising players that Pete Carroll selected in the last NFL Draft to help boost the Seattle Seahawks' aerial game are Golden Tate and Anthony McCoy.
Carroll has experienced the results of their talents firsthand. He coached tight end McCoy at USC and was compelled to defend against Tate as a tough and productive Notre Dame rival.
To find out how each receiver influenced Carroll one day, turn the clock back less than a year.
USC traveled to South Bend to face Notre Dame in college football’s longest continuous inter-sectional rivalry on October 17, 2009. A rivalry that began in 1926 when gridiron giants Knute Rockne and Howard Jones coached the Irish and Trojans respectively.
Who could have known then that less than a year later Carroll would be coaching both Tate and McCoy in the NFL? After a day in which he was bedeviled and scared and the other was a cause of elation with his most productive receiving day as a Trojan.
The game turned into a shootout. On those occasions receivers generally shine brightly and this clash resulted in stellar performances for both receivers.
The first half was a quiet defensive game. As the teams went to their dressing rooms the visiting Trojans held a 13-7 edge on the strength of two Jordan Congdan field goals.
It did not take long for the second half fireworks to commence. McCoy and Tate were quickly in the thick of things.
After USC jumped the score to 20-7 on a Matt Barkley touchdown pass to Damien Williams it was the Irish’s turn to hit on a big TD aerial. Jimmy Clausen connected on a 45-yarder to Tate.
In the fourth quarter after the Trojans once more appeared to be pulling away with a 34-20 advantage following a 1-yard Joe McKnight tally, the combo of Clausen to Tate struck back with a 15-yard touchdown pass to bring the score back to a manageable 34-27 for the home team.
While Tate had two touchdown receptions for the day with eight grabs for 117 yards, McCoy was having his own red-letter day.
While McCoy had no touchdown receptions with five catches to eight for Tate, he was a major hand in Trojan second-half point production. The muscular tight end produced 153 yards of the Trojan passing total.
McCoy’s yardage total was heavily boosted by one incredible third quarter catch in the middle of the field for 60 yards as he fought off one potential tackler after another.
Both quarterbacks enjoyed productive afternoons. Matt Barkley of USC connected for 19-of-29 for 380 yards and two scores. Jimmy Clausen of ND had a 24-for-43 day with two touchdowns.
So now Carroll is coaching the two outstanding receivers of that memorable grid battle. They are two different receiver types who offer varying threats to opposing NFL defenses.
Golden Tate stands at 5'10" and weighs 202 pounds. The Tennesse native is a speedster with the ability to go deep.
McCoy, who comes from Central California, is a load to handle when he blocks or goes out for passes. At 6'5" and 255 pounds the tight end not only is a threat to grab short tosses, but to split defenses down the middle as he did against Notre Dame.
The former rivals offer different pass reception opportunities for Pete Carroll to offensively explore as he begins his first season in Seattle.