In reporting today's NFL Audible on the trials and tribulations college coaches face when they make the jump to the NFL, the Bee's Paul Gutierrez jumped on the weekly Pacific 10 Conference football coaches' conference call and fired a few questions at USC's Pete Carroll.
Not only is Carroll embattled Raiders coach Lane Kiffin's previous boss, Carroll is also a former NFL head coach, having spent a combined four years with the New York Jets and New England Patriots, so he figured to have a unique perspective on things. Following then, is Carroll unplugged...
Q: Have you been able to keep tabs much on what Lane is going through up here in Oakland and if so, do you talk to him much, and what do you tell him?
A: We have communicated some and I'm just continuing to support him to do what he knows how to do and do what he can do best and that's coach a football team and do the game plan and all that. All of the rest of that stuff is really so counter-productive, to be talking about it and answering questions. It sounds like he did a good job and it's just business as usual as best as possible. I don't know why anybody would want to make this thing so disruptive right now. They're trying to win football games and they played a great game last week and got a great effort out of the defense and Rob (Ryan) did a great job of getting everybody playing well and they ran the hell out of it. So, you know, they've got a big game coming up. I don't know what else you could even be focused on in letting the word out that they might be focusing on something else. The coaching staff sounds like they're really together and they're going to try to do a great job and get this thing going.
Q: For you, obviously, it's been a while, but having been a head coach in both the NFL and in college, what is the biggest difference - is it simply more fun in college?
A: There's a couple of different ways to look at it. The numbers of people involved at the high levels, you know, the owners and the GMs and the coaches, it's really hard to get everybody on the same page and it doesn't happen very much, particularly in the enormous, the egos involved with all that; it's hard. And it's hard to support the guy who has to have the support, which is the head coach. He's the guy that's making the kid do the stuff and it seems difficult to get everybody on the same page, quite often, and that's why there's so many coaching changes and personnel shifts and stuff like that. It's difficult. Here, I do everything here. I'm the G.M., I'm the personnel guy, I'm the academic advisor; I'm the head coach and all that stuff. And it makes for one voice and the leadership and the direction of it all comes out of one office. So it's much, much easier to guide.
Q: Why would anyone want to leave a situation like college for the NFL?
A: Guys that have never done it before, guys that have been in college their (whole) career and haven't had the chance to do it, they should do it. I mean, it's extraordinary. The NFL's a blast, man. It's fun and challenging and all that. It's different in some ways and it's different good and it's different bad. Going the other way, this is like a breath of fresh air. The kids are all young; they're all eager and ready to go and you have tremendous control. So that's my whole thing. I think I do better when I have full control and you don't have to try to match your philosophy with somebody else's. I don't have to do that. You've got to ask Dave at Pittsburgh and guys all around and what they think, but that's the biggest issue for me.