Carroll talks Tom Cable, Neil deGrasse Tyson and David Brooks
SEATTLE – As the face of the the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 News, Aaron Levine is accustomed to some eye-opening conversations during his one-on-one interviews with coach Pete Carroll every week.
This week, though, Carroll held court on everything from rapidly emerging defensive end Frank Clark, to his personal second-favorite book, to a recent visit to the team from rock-star astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
It was esoteric Carroll at his best as the Seahawks prepare for a suddenly important Week 3 matchup against a fiercely contested yet clearly weakened opponent in the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Q13 FOX.
Here’s what Carroll had to say:
Is it any different for your defense this week, preparing for the up-tempo offense?
It is a bit different. We have to be ready for the tempo and the communications that are necessary to maintain the kind of communication that we have. They’re a no-huddle offense, we’re a no-huddle defense, basically.
You mention communication – K.J. Wright said the biggest challenge was communication. Would you agree?
Yeah, there’s less time to communicate, and you don’t huddle so we have to do it through other ways that we do it and our guys are prepared for it and we really prepare for this all year cause you don’t know when you’re going to see it, except for teams that are fully committed. So we’re ready to do this.
What led to the defensive success two years ago when you faced Chip Kelly in Philadelphia?
I think we played the run real well that day, that’s part of it. This is a running team, it’s a running offense and they’re committed to it. And they can throw the ball – they throw the ball downfield and attack you. But it starts with the running game and if you can’t stop the run, you can’t play your defense the way you want to, and then they won’t stop running it. They’ll run it right down your throat.
Are there any glaring differences from what you see on film compared to that Chip Kelly team in Philadelphia?
Well, they’ve adapted to their personnel, their different players, different style quarterbacks that run better and all that. So like Chip knows how to do, he’s taking full advantage of the qualities of the players.
How has field position dictated the game for you the last couple weeks, and impacted the game?
It’s been a big deal. It really has. It’s remarkably the same in the two games. We’ve been backed up. We’ve had average starts at the 22 in game one, and average starts at the 17. So we’re back the whole time. We’ve had very few field opportunities and neither the defense nor the kicking game really could change that with any consistency. So it made it really hard and it means you have to drive a long ways and we suffered with it.
Is it fair to pin the offensive struggles this year on just the offensive line?
No, not at all. Those guys are working hard at it. Everybody contributes to the running game. That’s the tight ends, the receivers, the running backs of course, the quarterback as well. There’s a lot of elements that come together to make the running game go or not go and our guys have worked hard at it. Hopefully we’ll get back on the kind of track that we’re used to and we’re accustomed to.
Earlier this week you talked about the evolution of the running game and how much you admired Tom Cable’s system. How did you two originally come together?
Well, I knew of Tom and he was at UCLA when we were at USC for a short time there. But I watched him coach at the Raiders. I went and visited them and that when I was really captured by his intensity and his commitment to the style. He had been raised in a system that we really liked and had championed at SC. So I just had my eye on him, and then we had a chance to get him so we nailed it.
Was that a no-brainer after he left Oakland?
Oh yeah. Yeah. It was a real coup for us to get him.
What are you seeing out of Frank Clark from the first two games – three sacks so far.
Frank is showing who he is. He’s got a great motor, he’s an explosive athlete, he’s really smart. You can see him playing a lot of spots – he’s versatile. He’s just a very talented player with a really good approach to the game, and so now we’re playing him more regularly and moving things around and doing things with him. He looks very comfortable. You give him an inch, he can really hurt you. So we’re really excited about him. I think he’s contributing to a good start in pass-rush and he’s helping other guys with their matchups as well, so it’s a really nice compliment.
You had a very special guest join the team this week and talk to them: Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist. Why’d you bring an astrophysicist to talk to the team?
We just fortunately got hooked up with him and he had a break in his schedule and we could get him. We had him visit with the team, and he went right to some laws of the universe. He’s one of the true masters. So we had some fun and we were lucky to have him visit.
Anything that can help you against the 49ers?
Yeah, but we’re not sharing that.
Our Twitter question this week: Aside from “Win Forever,” any book recommendations?
I was really excited about a book I found by David Brooks, “The Road to Character.” I thought it was an extraordinary book, and it’s led to me being able to see things more clearly, and to help me teach a little bit more effectively. I think a lot of people would really enjoy it.