Quotes From Pete Carroll's Spring Press Conference

April 20, 2001

Pete Carroll End-of-Spring Press Conference Quotes, 4/20/01

'We had some major concerns going in. One of those concerns was whether we would come together as a team. That's a focal point issue for me. I'm pleased at this point with the strides that we've made. We've been very competitive, been very challenging. We've had a difficult and long off-season. I think it's really been beneficial to us. The work ethic is in a pretty good place at this time as we enter into the end of school and the true off-season, the summertime. I can really count on these guys to work hard, so I like what we've done in that regard. We've talked about team, about sacrificing for teammates and feeling the roles that are necessary on a club. I'm really pleased with where we've gotten with that.

'Issues like turning the football over have been critical in terms of football stuff and we have done a very good job of hanging on to the football. We've gone through the last three scrimmages without turning the football over with the first two groups of offense. I've been very pleased with the progress we've made there and it will make a big difference with our success in the fall.

'Also, attention to details in terms of being efficient on the line of scrimmage and not jumping offsides and getting penalties and things like that--they go to the conscience of this club about taking care of the little things. It goes back to our team conscience and I think we are developing one and that's really important for us.

'So overall, those are the things I'm pleased with at this time. We still have a number of question marks in our personnel. We still have competition in a number of spots that'll take us into camp with jobs unsettled. I don't mind that right now, but obviously we need to get them settled by our opener and in the early part of the season. But overall the atmosphere has been very positive and very upbeat and very competitive and I've liked it so far.

(On the cornerback position)

'I think the cornerback position has been a pleasant surprise. We have five guys that are competing right now. We feel like our level of play is up. I think the guys have taken to (secondary coach) DeWayne Walker and his coaching style and our bump and run style that we like and I feel like we have a very, very good group there. That to me is not an area of question other than who is going to be the starters and who will get the bulk of the playing.

(On Kori Dickerson's move to tight end)

'I think it's worked out just terrific for us. He's given us a real boost down the field catching the football. He's picked things up quite well, caught the ball well and better as camp has gone on. He's really a target I our offense and I really like his attitude too. He brings a real upbeat, positive outlook and gives a nice spark. I think it's just been a win-win all the way. If we need him to come back to defense because of injuries, we could still do that. But as of right now, he's going to stay with the offense.

(On the linebacker corps)

'Linebacker is a spot that is very competitive. We've moved guys around and into different spots throughout spring trying to find the right mix. That's given us some flexibility but yet it's not settled. I think Nick Holt has really done a nice job bringing these guys up to speed and playing very aggressive and attacking right now, but yet we're still very young and inexperienced. Aaron Graham has been in the lead position in that group. He's the one that has the most playing experience. Chris Prosser has done a nice job, John Cousins has done a nice job, Michael Pollard has been competitive at his spots and we're really pleased with the development of Lee Webb. We moved him from fullback to linebacker, although he has very little background playing at that spot. He's really made a lot of hits and made a big, positive impression for us. He needs to continue to grow throughout camp when we come back in August. It's an interesting group right now. I can't really tell you who's going to play in the opener. The new guys that come in--Marvin Simmons, Bobby Otani and Austin Jackson--we'll give them a good look and that will just heighten the competition at the spots. Whether they can handle it or not--all the learning and all the things they have to do--we'll wait and see. The fact that these spots are still open means these guys have a chance to make a play for some playing time.

(On his impressions of Carson Palmer)

'He has really good mobility. When we looked at the tapes, we saw a strong-armed kid, a playmaker. We also saw voids and inconsistencies in his play. He has been top flight throughout all of our camp. He's thrown the ball with great accuracy. He's picked up the offense very well. He hasn't had a turnover since the first scrimmage and that one occurred after the whistle was blown. He hasn't really had a bad play throughout the spring. So we're really thrilled with the way he's picked things up. We think he's a great asset. We like him on the move, going in and out of the pocket. He's very much in command of the offense right now. He's had a great spring.

(On playing Sultan McCullough and Malaefou MacKenzie in the same backfield)

'We've experimented with that combination and we really like it. Malaefou has shown tremendous versatility in catching the ball out of the backfield and lining up as an outside receiver as well. And he's a good blocker and can carry the football. He can do it all. I'm pleased with what he's shown us. Sultan has done a very nice job catching the football as well, but we've used him more running out of the backfield than Malaefou. So we're moving those guys around and I think it gives us a really good combination of threats. It's been a real plus for us.

(On special teams)

'We've focused on our punt and field goal teams. Our protection seems to be coming together quite well. It's going to be a competitive situation going into camp with our kickers. We've punted the ball pretty well here for the most part. The accuracy and consistency in our field goal and PAT game is still competitive and we'll leave it that way until it gets settled in the fall.

(On the competition at offensive tackle)

'Norm Katnick has done a real nice job for us. He's a real athletic guy. In college football there's a trend to put smaller, speedy pass rushers on the outside to try to get that athleticism that helps you in the pass rush. Norm is a very mobile kid and really light on his feet. He's made a nice impression and it's really been a surprise. He didn't do a whole lot last year, but now he's a 280-pound kid and he's moving well and he's done a nice job of making a good impression on us. As for the others, Joe MacGuire has worked hard at it, Torres has worked well. We're finding that tackle is a competitive spot. At that spot, the depth chart is still unsettled. That will be an issue in camp. But we're finding that we have three or four guys who can fill in there, but I think Norm is ahead at that spot, though.

(On the return of Antuan Simmons)

'That's really been a positive. The team understands where he's come from in such a short period of time. He's an inspiration and a big boost to the corner position. He's done really nice job in the nickel packages as well. He's got some big plays in him.

(On the speed on offense)

'Coming in I saw we had some guys who had speed and could do things on the perimeter and that led me to seek Norm Chow to come in. I'm pretty excited about how it looks right now. We've moved the ball around quite a bit and really attacked the perimeter. We've gotten the ball out there where our quick guys can make things happen.

'I didn't realize how explosive Kareem and Sultan McCullough are. The emergence of Keary Colbert has been impressive. He was struggling in the early going but has really come around. He just looks stronger and more confident. He's run away from our defense a few times, catching short passes and making long gains. I'm encouraged by all that. Hopefully we can build on that and it will also open up the running game.

'The development of Keary Colbert is clear. I think he's one of the most improved players in spring. Kareem Kelly is a dynamic receiver. So we've seen a lot of really positive things.

(On speed on defense)

'The perimeter of our defense--the corners and safeties--run really well. Right now we're starting Lonnie Ford and Omar Nazel on the ends, which gives us additional speed. So the perimeter of our defense is fast. I hope it will become a hallmark of our defensive style that we do fly to the football. We've still got a ways to go defensively but I'm encouraged by the way we're going about it.

(On the incoming freshmen)

'It's going to be interesting what the newcomers add to the mix in fall camp. I'm anxious to see what Matt Leinart and Billy Hart can do, as well as Sean Cody and Marvin Simmons. There's a number of other guys, too, where it will be interesting to see if they can make a mark here. William Buchanon, for instance, with his speed and his down-the-field catching ability that he has--that'll be interesting to see. It'll be fun to get those guys in uniform and put them out there with the rest of the players.

(On turnovers)

'The initial philosophy of our program is about possession of the football. In our first team meeting we were talking about it. All our guys have been instructed on how to put it away. We're very strict about it and very demanding and very tough on our guys. They can get in trouble even if they don't carry the ball right. They don't have to turn it over to get in trouble with us. It's a huge issue with us and I just believe philosophically that possession is one of the critical aspects that you can control on your own club and we're really working hard to do that. On the other side, we try to really heighten the awareness of the defensive players to attack the ball. We play defense to get the ball, not just to try to stop the other team. But in practice the offense is doing a very good job of hanging on to the ball and I think it's the strong point of our play right now.'

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