It took about 10 minutes before new Seattle Seahawks head coach and executive vice president Pete Carroll took a breath at his USC exit news conference on Monday, and he talked non-stop for about 13 minutes when he took the podium in Seattle on Tuesday. Carroll then did a bunch of one-on-ones with different media members at Seahawks HQ, including Fran Charles of the NFL Network.
Carroll said that the move from USC to Seattle had nothing to do with the possible impending NCAA sanctions for recruiting violations. "That investigation's been going on for five years, and nothing's changed." (Suuuuuure, Pete. Nothing to do with the timing at all. Gotcha!)
Carroll will be, if not the final word in football operations, going forward with more power than he had as a coach in the NFL with the Jets and Patriots in the 1990s, where he put up a 33-31 record. "We'll start as soon as we're done here [with the interview] with the search for a general manager ... guys are coming from different setups. The plan is to figure out who the right guy is and formulate how this will fit together."
What does he say to those who think he's just another Bobby Petrino/Nick Saban NFL washout who should stay in college? "I think there are some similarities [in those backgrounds] and some differences, too. Having had experience as an NFL coach, then going into the college game, and then coming back, I think it's a little bit different."
He then responded to former USC quarterback Mark Sanchez(notes), who gave it back to his old coach about Carroll's opinion that Sanchez wasn't ready for the NFL. "Oh, I love it. Payback's gonna be pretty tough. I wanted Mark to know that I did graduate, and in leaving school early, I did take my diploma with me." He ended the interview with the following playful warning: "Look out, Mark -- I'm coming after you."
Carroll should check the 2010 schedule -- Sanchez's Jets won't play the Seahawks unless it's in next year's Super Bowl, and we're guessing the Seahawks, who have won only nine games in their last two seasons, are a few years away from such things no matter who their new coach is.
And speaking of SC ... former Trojans assistant, Oakland Raiders head coach, and Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin will replace Carroll in SoCal. We're guessing that Jack Del Rio and Steve Mariucci didn't see that coming...