Best Getaway since Al “A.C.” Cowlings: After a brief jockeying for po$ition with the Seahawks, Carroll is expected to high-tail it out of Condumb-land, right before the sh*t hits the fan(s)
From Star-f*cker to Starbucker?
Is Wil Ferrell and Snoop Dogg’s buddy really moving to the land of double lattes? And is he really fleeing to avoid imminent and severe NCAA sanctions?
ESPN broke the news yesterday, that it is almost a done deal that usc Coach Pete Carroll will bail on the trojans this week to become the President and Head Coach of the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle fired their Head Coach Jim Mora after only one season yesterday, and has allegedly already been in negotiations with Carroll. The L.A. Times says that the contract is 5 years for $35 Million ($7 Mil/Year). Carroll has been rumored to be leaving sc twice in the past, but on those occasions, the Times wasn’t quoting contract details, so it looks like this one might actually materialize.
With Damian Williams and Joe McLand-Rover announcing that they are both leaving sc early for the NFL, and with Aaron Corp transferring, it seems like maybe the trojans knew that something bad was coming. Did they know that Carroll was bailing, or did they hear that NCAA TV and Bowl Bans were coming? Actually, Corp might have STAYED if HE knew about Pom Pom. But, if they left due to impending sanctions, is it possible that’s why Carroll left too, or did Carroll just realize that with all the defections, the team would be even worse than they were this year?
There is no way Carroll would want to Coach a team that couldn’t go to a Bowl, or even worse, couldn’t be on TV. After all, he is probably planning to be a broadcaster, based on his appearance on the BCS Title game, so he wants to stay in the TV public’s eye. But if he quit AFTER a TV Ban was announced, it would be too obvious, so he had to bail first.
Carroll’s previous NFL record is mediocre at best, and it includes a stint with the Jets, where he got run out of New York after only one season. Will Seattle have the patience to let Carroll serve all 5 years of his contract? What if he leaves, but the sanctions never come to fruition — would sc let him come crawling back after getting fired by Seattle, ala John Robinson II?
Of course, they may not ever want him back. If he ends up leaving them mired in a pit of probation, obviously he’d be persona non grata, but even if they end up getting off completely, the results of this past season, plus the success of his replacement, may mean no PC II.
The first name that came up was Oregon State’s Mike Riley. Why do teams always go after Coaches and Players from teams whom they couldn’t beat? [For example, the Texas Rangers are going after Vladimir Guerrero harder than anyone else, because he hit .396 lifetime against them. Of course, if he’s ON Texas, he doesn’t get to FACE Texas!] Riley, also, was a trojan Assistant Coach for 4 years, and a mediocre NFL Head Coach as well. You would think that sc would prefer someone who is good with paid professional players…
And they apparently do, but their two targets are not currently available: Ex-trojan Players Jeff Fisher and Jack Del Rio are both still under contract to the Titans and Jaguars respectively, and have not indicated a desire to take a step down from the NFL to Coach at their alma mater. Of course, both of them missed the Playoffs this year, despite having plenty of talent to make it, so maybe they will suddenly BECOME available. It took Fisher forever to promote Vince Young over Kerry Collins, a no-brainer that eluded an ex-trojan with a grudge against the ultimate trojan-killer? Meanwhile, Del Rio has the potentially most productive Player in Football in Maurice Jones-Drew, who rushed for more Touchdowns than anyone else in the Conference, AFTER he was forced to make a scene and publicly call out Del Rio’s Offensive gameplan.
Either one of those two ex-trojans would be good for sc’s recruiting, in terms of their knowledge of the NFL, and their familiarity with all the major players of the League. Those guys would definitely be able to teach sc’s Players what it takes to get to the next level. However, I don’t think that either one of them is a fantastic Coach, in terms of x’s and o’s, OR in terms of motivation.
The Titans have been good, and have tended to overachieve, but over Fisher’s tenure, they are not usually consistent, and they have never gone all the way. Fisher is NEVER mentioned in the conversations about top coaches like his contemporaries Belichick, Cowher, Parcells, Reid, Holmgren, Coughlin, Gruden, Gibbs, Shula , Johnson, etc. What is Fisher known for? He was a Defensive Back at sc — the one who tipped a ball to Freeman McNeil for a Bruin win — but he is not known for being a strong Defensive Coach. Just a solid if not spectacular Coach, who can’t win the big one.
At least Del Rio has a calling card. The ex-trojan Linebacker IS known for his hard-as-nails Defenses. The Jags have been consistently tough on the Defensive side of the ball ever since Del Rio took over, but struggle to make the Playoffs every year. Del Rio hasn’t really been able to get the most out of his Offensive talent, and unless he gets Norm Chow to come back to sc as the new O.C., he might have a hard time recruiting the best Offensive Players. And as a motivator, he is no Vince Lombardi. One time, while trying to inspire his troops, he was wielding an ax, and he swung the ax solidly into… himself. At least he wasn’t caught wearing his rival’s jersey like Fisher was, when Jeff was caught in the act, in a Peyton Manning jersey. Actually, I think ex-trojan Del Rio DID have to wear a UCLA jersey, after “13-9” caused him to lose his annual bet with Maurice Jones-Drew, but just like a weasel/trojan, he wore it UNDER a sweatshirt.
The point is, neither one of them scares me, or probably, many other Bruin fans. Neither does Mike Riley, who hasn’t exactly torched UCLA consistently while in Corvallis. Other HARMLESS names who may or may not be on the list: sc Assistants Nick Holt and Ken Norton jr.; former sc Assistants Steve Sarkissian, Ed Orgeron, Norm Chow, and Lane Kiffin; Former Irish Coach Charlie Weis.
The SCARY names are, in order of liklihood: Chris Peterson of Boise State, Jim Harbaugh of Stanford, Bob Stoops of Oklahoma, Jon Gruden of ESPN, and Nick Saban of Alabama (and maybe Gary Patterson of TCU or Jeff Tedford of Cal). Of course, if NCAA sanctions were EXPECTED to be applied, none of these guys would touch it. But deposed Red Raider Coach Rick Leach might be interested. A guy like that, or the guy from South Florida who just got fired for allegedly hitting a Player in the face/head, might LOVE to coach a team that isn’t allowed on TV for a year or two.
And just WHO is going to make this hire? Will A.D. Mike Garrett still have a job? The President of the school quit, and the Football & Basketball Coaches have left in DISGRACE, allegedly, so if the NCAA spanks sc with a Lack of Institutional Control Death Penalty, chances are Garrett will NOT be left standing. And a new A.D. would have new connections and alliances, so a whole new list may evolve. Anyone ready for Ted Tollner II? Or is it time for another Paul Hackett Era?
Any time you’re dealing with the Coaching Carousel, the air is rife with speculation and rumor, and even real journalists can’t help but partake. And as long as we are talking RUMOR: There are two current rumors circulating about sc’s violation situation: #1 is that the penalties are going to be announced this Spring, and they will be severe, and #2: sc OFFERED up a self-punishment of reduced scholies and the like, and the NCAA turned it down as too lenient. Like I said, these are just rumors, but pretty encouraging ones nonetheless.