Longtime USC beat writer Scott Wolf of the LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS criticized Pete Carroll’s public reaction today to Mark Sanchez announcing he is going pro.
USC coach Pete Carroll was extremely ungracious during the Mark Sanchez press conference. He stormed out of the room and did not even sit at the table before Sanchez addressed the media. Something he never did when Matt Leinart, etc., announced their decisions. Carroll never sat down at the table but stood with his palms on the table. His anger was clear if you spend time around him. Not a great moment.
That sort of reportage on Carroll harkens his days with the Jets, when media notations of his erratic behavior on and off-the-field weren’t uncommon. (Remember the throat-slash he signaled on-field in the ’90s while coaching the struggling Jets?)
Here in Los Angeles, Carroll can do no wrong. Especially with the latest publicity about his frequent visits to meet inner-city Angelenos. But for people who have studied the program closely, there’s been a definite shift in Carroll’s coaching approach since USC’s remarkable championship run. And it isn’t for the better.
(Video of Carroll’s reaction at Sanchez presser after the jump)
After winning his second straight BCS title, Carroll made little-to-no effort to keep offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who, along with Carroll, was most responsible to the pair of titles and Carson Palmer’s & Leinart’s Heisman awards.
Other veteran assistants from Carroll’s early days with the Trojans have also all left. More interesting is that Carroll replaced them with much younger, more inexperienced assistant coaches.
The result is that the younger assistants, unlike Chow, no longer challenge Carroll. They merely fall in line and hope for a recommendation for a plum head coaching job (see Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin).
Since Carroll’s concerted shift in hiring practice, the program, despite overwhelming talent, has suffered unimaginable letdowns at the hands of Stanford and Oregon State (twice) in the past three seasons. Letdowns that killed the Trojans’ national title hopes.
Besides the obvious, why was Carroll so upset today? In case you don’t know, word is around the Pac-10 that USC next season isn’t going to be quite as talented across the board as it usually is, especially with the defection of Sanchez.
So with the mounting pressure of what could be a season of struggle next year, Carroll just couldn’t hold back his disgust with Sanchez, who will no doubt be a first-round NFL draft choice. In Sanchez’s defense, if USC were to have a mediocre 2009, who knows how that would effect his draft status. Not to mention that he was plagued by a gimpy knee throughout 2008.
So if you think today’s display by Carroll was bad, just wait kids, it could get worse. And then people might qualify PC’s forays into South Central as a distraction - instead of fawning over it as they do today.