Pete Carroll on the NFL’s return to L.A.: ‘It’s a big deal’

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05:  Coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans leads his team to the field prior to the start of the NCAA college football game against Arizona Wildcats at the Los Angeles Coliseum on December 5, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 05: Coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans leads his team to the field prior to the start of the NCAA college football game against Arizona Wildcats at the Los Angeles Coliseum on December 5, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

SEATTLE – The NFL is returning to Los Angeles on Sunday, and it’s only fitting that Pete Carroll is as well.

The Seahawks’ coach will return to his home state – and to the city where he led the USC Trojans to two national championships – when Seattle plays at the L.A. Rams at 1 p.m.

The game will be televised on the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX, with coverage beginning at noon with the Seahawks Gameday pregame preceding it at 12:30 p.m.

Carroll discussed the return in an exclusive one-on-one interview with Q13’s Aaron Levine.

What are your thoughts on going back to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum?

I’m excited to go back. I think it’s great that football’s back in L.A. and to have the opportunity to be in the first game, I feel fortunate to be able to get to do that. For the fans, I think we’re going to have a really good time, I hope it’s a great game for us.

You used to enter that stadium through a throng of USC fans. How different is it going to be not having those fans there?

It’ll be a little different. We’re obviously not the home team, that’s for sure. I won’t have any problem with that.

Richard Sherman says he dislikes the visitors’ locker room at the Coliseum. Have you even seen the visitors’ locker room there?

Yeah I’ve been there a couple times in years past and I know when the Raiders got there Al Davis changed it and made it as uncomfortable as possible for the opponent. So we’ll see what that looks like. We just gotta do what we do, and you can’t do anything about it.

If I had told you after the game last Sunday that Russell Wilson would be a full-go in practice all week this week, what would you have told me?

I wouldn’t have thought anything but. I would’ve thought like he thought – of course he’s going to do it until he can’t. He did a great job this week getting back and putting together really good preparation.

Did that tell you anything about Russell you didn’t already know?

Not really, but it just amplified his competitiveness and how tough he is, and the great leader that he is.

What do the Rams do defensively that makes it a challenge for this offense?

They’re really good up front. They’re so loaded. The front seven is even better this year than the past years, they’re faster than they’ve been. And the scheme is very aggressive too. Coach Williams does a nice job with their guys, so in every phase, it’s difficult.

You faced Ndamukong Suh and a tough Dolphins defensive front last week. What does that do to help you prepare for the challenge of Aaron Donald and company this wee?

The mental preparation, we knew that we were going through maybe the toughest group, until this week, in the NFL. So our guys have really had to take to that challenge. These guys are a different style. Suh is much different than Donald in their way of playing. But the problems, the constant threat is always there that they can make a big play.

Your front seven is incredibly impressive as well. This team has now gone 23 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. What impresses you the most about that streak?

It’s the consistency and the dedication to the system. The coaches have done a great job of keeping it familiar, and the constant for the players. And the players understand it so well that they’re really disciplined about it. So it gives us a shot to show that kind of consistency.

You know there’s going to be a lot of emotions in Los Angeles tomorrow, the first NFL game in a number of years there. What are your expectations for that game?

As soon as they kick it off, it’s like any other game. But the buildup and the hype, it can affect you some. It’s not going to affect us and it’s not going to affect me, but it’s just fun to play in that unique setting. But I think it could be a very memorable moment for the fans because they finally have their team back, so I’m really happy for the area.

What do you think it means to the city of Los Angeles to finally have pro football back?

It’s a big deal. It’s a big deal for them, and not just the emotional part of it – financially it’s gonna be a big deal. And for all those young kids to connect with their own NFL team – and there’s millions of them – it’ll mean a lot to them growing up and going to games and watching games and having their own team to root for.  And I know that the Rams will do a great job in the community as well, so it’s a big deal in a lot of ways.

Our Twitter question this week: “Coach, which one of your players is most likely to be a coach in the future?”

I’d go with DeShawn Shead. He is just the epitome of grit and love of the game. I don’t know if he’s even thinking about it, but he would be a terrific coach and he could do a great job.