Q13 exclusive:  Carroll talks East Coast travel, Harbaugh, and Hawks’ incredible draft class

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SEATTLE – Every week, Pete Carroll sets aside a few minutes to talk with us. Here’s what The Man himself had to say:

This team hasn’t had to travel back east on back-to-back weeks much, at least in the last couple of seasons. How taxing is that on the coaches and players?

It could be. I hope the way that we go about it, and go out a day early, it’s not as hard on us.  We take care of business that way. I like that we’re playing the early games both times, so that we get home before it’s too late. So, it’s not that much different – you’re just sitting on a plane a little bit longer.

You get another Harbaugh this week. I know our fans are very familiar with Jim Harbaugh, but how would you characterize John?

Well, John’s a great coach. He started out as a defensive coach, and then he went to special teams and is one of the unique guys who got a head coaching job from a special-teams position and hopefully he sets the stage for other guys to do that as well. He’s a really all-around great ball coach. They play great football – they’re really hard-nosed and tough and they’ve been noted for their defense.  So, I think he does a great job.

Is their record so far misleading, from what you see on film?

There’s no doubt that their season could’ve been flip-flopped.  They had a ridiculous challenge in their schedule – five of seven on the road, four of the mon the West Coast. It was a hard start for them, and they had so many close games. They’re battle tested. They’re going to be tough down the stretch and to the end. So we gotta play good football to get this.

Did you recruit (Ravens rookie running back) Buck Allen? I know you’ll see him (against Baltimore).

Back in the day, early in his high school career, they used to call in every once in a while. So I knew about his high school – it was a great high school in Tallahassee. So we knew all about him, and he became part of the class (at USC) a couple years after I was gone.

The rush defense did a great job against Adrian Peterson last week. This defense has allowed the least amount of explosive plays on the ground this season.  What’s been the key to their success?

It’s really discipline. It’s really strict adherence to the scheme and the discipline the guys show. Kris Richard and all the guys on defense –they really demand that our guys are consistent and sharp at their alignments and all that.  That’s a prideful stat, because we’re trying to do that and our guys do it. We don’t do a lot of stuff but we do it really well and hopefully we can keep that going.

A few weeks ago, you gave praise to Frank Clark saying that you were really excited about him. That was before his last couple of games. What did you see that we hadn’t seen in games?

We’ll he’s just getting more comfortable with all the things that we’re doing. He’s got a long ways to go in terms of what he can learn and how he can utilize his talent – he’s got a lot of talent. What he has too, he has a great motor. He plays so hard and chases the football relentlessly. So we saw some opportunities coming up, and we were looking forward to seeing how he did and he’s done very well. Hopefully we keep it going.

Between him, Rawls and Lockett, this draft class is extremely special. What makes them special, do you think?

I think they’re really competitive, all these guys. It’s not too big for them, and they’ve been able to take the challenges of playing early and they’ve grown from that and they’re very comfortable now and fitting in. They’ve just become part of the fabric of the team. Now, they’ve got a lot of talent. If they didn’t have that, they wouldn’t be able to knock it through like they have.  So we’re really excited about what they’re contributing.

We talked about the emphasis on explosive plays, and the pass explosive plays for the Seahawks are toward the top of the league once again. How much of a role does that play in your success? How much emphasis do you put on it?

It’s huge. Explosive plays really are one of the most determining factors for scoring. When you get one in a drive, your chance of scoring goes way up. We love having them in the running game – which, we do OK there – but the passing game as well, we catch it and run it. We’re not just dinking the ball around. We’re not a ball-control throwing team – we’re trying to make plays and get our guys out to run and all that. It’s been a big part of our team – it’s been a pretty consistent part of our production.

The Heisman trophy – who would you have voted for?

I like (Stanford running back Christian) McCaffrey. I think he’s an incredible player that do so many incredible things and contributes so much to his team. It makes him the most valuable, in my mind. I think the other guys are really good players too, but I think he’s been awesome.

Our Twitter question this week: Was Kevin Smith’s ability to block one of the reasons you decided to add him to the roster?

That was one of the elements. He’s a really tough football player. He’s really versatile too – he knows all the positions. For a young guy to play all the spots really gives us a versatility that we like. And he plays on special teams – he’s a great kid to add to the roster.

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