Carroll Gets Fresh With USC Student
Pete Carroll wants to personally guide another USC co-ed as she fully blossoms into the fully equiped woman she can become, as she ripens with age and experience.
Is that a crime?
According to many, Carroll’s public criticism of USC QB Mark Sanchez was unfounded. If you listen to Fox Sports Radio long enough, you would certainly conclude Carroll committed an unforgivable dereliction.
So did Carroll hang Sanchez out to dry?
Maybe… or maybe he was more right than wrong and Sanchez actually could use more seasoning at USC.
Or maybe it’s more that Carroll hasn’t been able to break Sanchez of seasoning underage freshman girls at USC.
Hey, Sanchez is just like everyone else, all students are required to take a rape awareness class to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
(This is just plain awkward.)
Aside from Sanchez’s prevalent social issues, the more regnant reason behind his coach’s noisy concern is the fact that while completing four years in Compton, the youngster has a very skimpy resume to market to pro scouts.
That resume seems to have impressed some, but color me un-enthused.
For all the talk of Sanchez’s big arm, there seemed to be an awful lot of wounded-duck throws in Kiper’s highlight video.
As a USC fan, I have been able to watch Sanchez fairly closely over the past year and a half and he throws like a girl. A very burly girl, but a girl nonetheless. He also is prone to making decisions with a little less testosterone than she he probably should. Still, Sanchez certainly has better tools than John David Booty, Matt Leinart, Matt Cassell and possibly even Carson Palmer, but he has also played far too inconsistently.
For every couple of 28-35 for 416 yards and 4-TDs Rose Bowl performance, there was a 21-36 for 216 yards and 1-TD against the Arizona’s of the world sitting just around the corner.
Sanchez had his ups and downs this past season, as expected from a first year starter.
Granted, Sanchez finished the year by announcing his presence with authority, and he seemed to spread his wings a little wider with each game. But when he tries to do the same in the NFL next season, while thrust into the starting lineup mid-season when his team’s entire fan base is calling for him to start proving his worth; he will probably know what it feels like to be Matt this year.
Leinart, not Cassell.
It’s safe to say I foresee more than a few struggles in Sanchez’s future. Why will he struggle? Glad you asked.
1) The Experience/ Learning Curve Factor
It’s hard enough to succeed in the NFL as a young QB struggling to get a handle on a completely new offensive system, but even tougher when you are one who just started to grasp his NCAA system. Now try doing all of that while juggling the mammoth expectations that accompany a top five draft pick. Sheesh.
2) The David Carr Factor
Think this doesn’t come into play? It’s a little easier to succeed when your first handful of starts come for a team that nearly went undefeated the previous year than when they come for a team who struggled to win a single game. It’s even tougher when you can’t seem to stay off your back.
You are now young, inexperienced, frustrated with your new system, and physically hurt. Sounds like fun. Let’s keep going.
3) Magnified Weaknesses
When Sanchez starts overthrowing his receivers, people will notice. He does the same thing now, so why isn’t anyone noticing? Because the Trojans win. When his team and the talent around him are no longer compensating for either poor throws, or bad decisions, he will be criticized and probably booed.
Go ahead and ask Vince Young what that will do to one’s confidence.
So now now you are young, inexperienced, frustrated with your new system, physically hurt, getting booed, and possibly speeding away from your relatives in your new car without your cell phone and on a possible suicide watch.
Man, this whole going pro thing was a great call.
Let’s be fair though, there are two sides to every coin. The other side of this coin is well… lots and lots of other coins.
Regardless of Sanchez’s readiness for the big time, if he is a top five pick in the draft, he will make millions, with about a third of his contract likely guaranteed. Which brings us back to Pete Carroll.
Was Carroll wrong for imploring his QB to come back to the Trojans for one more season’s worth of experience and leadership?
From a football standpoint, probably not, but from a cold hard cash standpoint… umm… yes.
The Leniart parallel is strong, as he decided to heed to Carroll’s calling, and return for one final ride on the merry-go-round. We’ve all seen how well that worked out for him.
But here’s a dirty little secret; Leinart actually regressed his senior season, and it was likely because he focused on mastering the beer bong rather than the out route.
In his radio interview with ESPN, Carroll compared Sanchez not to a former Trojan, but to former No. 1 pick Alex Smith; a skilled player who entered the league with high expectations, was forced to play to soon, and ultimately failed leading to his current irrelevance with the team who drafted him.
So again, was Carroll wrong to call out his QB? I really don’t know. I do know that his decision will have very little or no backlash in terms of USC recruiting. The talking heads want us to believe top prospects will shy away from a school who’s head coach seemingly will ignore their best interests when it comes time to talk NFL. However, the chances of that scenario coming to life are slim, as most recruits will choose to focus on USC’s notoriety, and winning potential on the sport’s largest stage.
With little chance of backlash, why wouldn’t Carroll urge Sanchez to stay for another year? Especially if he actually needs it for developmental purposes.
While Carroll may have crossed the don’t-humiliate-your-former-player line, and probably shouldn’t have, he may have been more right then wrong with this one.
Each prospect has a choice to make when pondering his draft eligibility. Should he take the easy money, or work a little harder while taking steps that may eventually extend his pro career.
In the end, Sanchez chose the money, and Carroll chose to exit stage left in a very public manner.
Now Carroll won’t be able to watch his best gal toss the rock on Saturdays. Instead he’ll be watching her spend a lot of time on her back while grown men twice her age pile-drive her against her will on Sundays.
Hey, at least Sanchez will be able to claim he has had some experiences which will help him in the NFL.
(Whoops… are we still not talking about his legal issues? My mistake, I’ll wait until it’s acceptable to bring them up again.)