Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll conducted a conference call with the New Orleans media today. On the call, he discussed his former pupils at USC in Reggie Bush and Sedrick Ellis, as well as Sunday's matchup. Below is a transcript:
The team has been a little inconsistent and then last week your team had maybe your best performance on the road. Could that maybe be a breakthrough game for your team?
"I don't know. We'll find out. We'll take it one week a time. We played real well on the road against Chicago, played kind of in similar fashion this week against Arizona. At least we know now that we can get it together, take our football on the road and have the opportunity to play well. We're obviously going to have to play a great football game this week to deal with all the Saints bring us. I love that we were able to bounce back after two hard weeks in terrible performances. But we came back in character and played like we had earlier. We'll see what happens. It's week to week here."
The Saints don't want to give anything away, but we assume you're preparing as if Reggie Bush will play? Is it a little bit odd to face the prospect of having to stop him for a change?
"No, I've tried that for years in spring practice. We've been playing against guys who are SC guys every week. It's not strange. It's kind of fun to watch them play and see how they do. It's interesting to have insights on them, but it doesn't seem to helm much so far. All the SC guys have played well when we've played them."
With the SC guys that you've gone against so far, especially Reggie this week, do you go in with a knowledge set of this is what we can do to try to stop or contain this particular player?
"Sedrick's (Ellis) there too. Sedrick's a guy we had for five years too. Surprisingly I can't seem to find a way to help our guys at all. Those guys are playing great football. We know that Reggie causes a bunch of problems. All the things we've seen them do, we know they've done before. People couldn't stop him then. It's hard to stop him now. We're going to try. We'll do the best we can to see if we can keep him corralled."
On the outside there is a debate of how valuable Reggie is compared to where he was picked in the draft. His talents are so unique I'm not sure if statistics tell the story. What are your impressions about the impact he has had, given the expectations of where he was drafted and the career he's had thus far?
"I think you're accurate on that in that his impact goes beyond the stats, because he is such a factor and you have to deal with him. That helps their football team. So, just looking at the numbers they won the first two games with them and it's been hard ever since. He's a fantastic player that causes problems. Sometimes when he's not getting the ball, he's still causing problems, because you have to make sure you pay attention to where he is and what he's doing. They utilize him so beautifully. You just can't take your eyes off him. Sometimes when you have four eyes on him you can't stop him, so it's interesting to go against. I've seen him so much. To try to slow him down in scrimmages and stuff is really challenging."
Is this thought although we see the glimpses of his greatness here as at SC, I guess people expected to look at the stat sheets every year or see more Pro Bowls? I don't know what your expectations might have been of him making the transition to the pros. Can you talk a bit about that?
"Whenever you get picked second in the draft. People are going to have extraordinary expectations for you. It's always hard to live up to those and somebody's always going to be disappointed. The things that they're doing with him are the things we tried to do with him in college. You try to get him in space. You try to get him matchups. You try to utilize his great speed and ability to bust plays and games wide open. They totally understand it. Sean's (Payton) great at it, utilizing him and deploying him and all that. You can see by the way they're playing him, he's not getting the ball 25 times a game from the tailback position, but he's still a factor in playing championship level football obviously. So, it can't be more obvious. They won a World Championship with him. I think whether the critics are satisfied, who cares. They're playing great football with the guy and he's a big factor in all that."
What was the most amazing thing you saw him do at SC?
"I think just control games. There was not just one play. There were too many single plays he had. It was the ability to control games and be the factor that won football games for you. We were playing up at Oregon State one night and we were struggling. He ran a punt back for a touchdown, changed the game. We were losing to Virginia Tech one night. He scored two touchdowns in five minutes. That changed the game and he did it against UCLA three different years. He scored touchdowns from long range. We didn't have to worry about how to get down the field. He just made it happen so fast. That's the stuff that comes to mind when you think of it. He was able to control the outcome of the game because he could make those huge plays."
Reggie says he still has a great relationship with you and that you keep in touch with him. Are there any thoughts of calling him and recommending his leg needs another week's worth of rest?
"If I get a chance to talk to him before I'll certainly advise him that way. I've kind of made the practice of not talking to the guys during the week. We've had some messaging going on back and forth. I need to kind of hold the line on that. I don't think people understand how close everybody is. It's just better to leave it. I wish him the best. I hope he can get back as soon as possible. He's an extraordinary competitor. I'm sure it's killing him to miss any game and not that this one's any different for him, I'm sure he wants to get back as soon as possible."
On something besides Reggie, can you discuss the status of your quarterback? How much does his injury affect what you can do this week?
"No, Matt (Hasselbeck) came back, finished the game and did fine, didn't have any issues. We don't expect him to have any issue at all. The way his wrist is splinted up, he has full motion. It's not restricting him in any way. We just have to make sure he doesn't bang it during the week. But he's real safe and secure. There aren't any issues with it. We haven't practiced yet. We'll see how that works out, but we plan on him having a normal week."
Not to shortchange Sedrick Ellis. When you see film, do you see the kind of NFL player you thought he'd be?
"Sedrick is really a good football player. He's really stout. He has a style with the long arms he has is disengaging. He has real good initial quickness. He gives guys problems getting them on the edge in a hurry. He loves the game, plays really hard and has always been a terrific competitor. It doesn't surprise me a bit he's been a big factor. I'm happy to see him play three technique where he gets rush opportunities and be under center all the time. I'm sure he enjoys that. He got stuck as a nose tackle for us for the most part and is probably still mad at me about that. He's playing well. It's exciting for me if you can imagine, seeing all these guys playing so well around the league, having careers and getting going. It will be fun to go against Sedrick too."
Is it almost like a reunion tour where you play these guys from USC?
"Yes, it's almost like that. I always said one of my favorite things would be able to travel and watch these guys play. It's just fun stuff. Imagine Matt Cassel starring and all these other guys starring in their different cities. It's fun to watch them play. Unfortunately we have to play against them now."
Reggie talked about you being a fun coach. How much of that were you able to take back to the NFL again?
"There's no fun here in Seattle. We left that in Los Angeles. It's just blood and guts here. We're having a good time doing it. We try to practice harder and faster than anyone in the NFL. We try to do that with great consistency. We have a way to enjoy it. Hopefully our guys are feeling that. We're just trying to do everything we can. But I think you can have a good time while coaching and playing this game."
It seems like you're almost an anomaly. Maybe Rex Ryan is the same way. People seem to think NFL coaches are bah humbug and about paranoia. What are your thoughts on that more open and outgoing approach to the public and media?
"You have to do what feels right to you. I like engaging people in what we're doing and letting them being around us. We're somewhat in the entertainment business for the fans and in business to keep them a part of it. We try to be connected in the summertime when we can in camps like a lot of teams do. For the most part, I want our guys and understand how special this opportunity is in their life and how they should give back when they get their chance. I feel the same way personally. We try to make it as open as we can. Being competitors, there's a regard for not giving stuff away. I still think you can interact and make it a special relationship, not just the players and the coaches, but the people who are close to the program as well."
Is there anything different about coaching in the NFL now that is different from the last time you did it?
"it's not that much different. I'm different. I went through a lot of stuff since the last time I was there, the 10 or 11 years I was out of here. I feel different about being in charge of it, just more experienced and I wish I would have known what I know now back then, but you can't, so we're trying to enjoy the heck out of it and see how far we can take this thing."