Pete Carroll & USC

Pete Carroll on struggling USC football: We were a tough act to follow

Sam Farmer (LA Times) —  Pete Carroll has plenty on his plate these days. He’s got to get the Seattle Seahawks back on track without the help of star quarterback Russell Wilson, currently recovering from finger surgery.

Regardless, Carroll is still aware of the situation at USC, where he coached for nine seasons, won 97 games, seven Pac-10 titles and two national championships. He might have a philosophy about what type of coach the Trojans should hire — it would be shocking if he didn’t — yet he isn’t interested in talking about that.

But the Seahawks coach spoke at team headquarters with the Los Angeles Times recently and discussed his career at the school, the expectations created during those glory years, and what awaits the football coach who ultimately gets that job.

USC wasn’t in great shape when you took over in late 2000, a little like the situation now. What do you remember about that opportunity?

What we stumbled into when we went there was a giant of a job. It was a huge opportunity and a huge setting for college football. It had been, then it wasn’t, then we hit it running and got in a great rhythm of recruiting, coaching, playing and all that, and had a great run. It’s an incredible place, so much potential.

Unfortunately for the people who have followed, we made it really difficult on them. We won every game for three years in a row or whatever it was. The expectations were difficult. In one regard I feel bad for the guys who followed because it’s been so hard to match up. But it’s a marvelous place with great potential, a great setting, a great university in a great spot.

Did you surprise yourself with your early success?

I knew we were going to win every game. [Laughs] No, yeah. If you remember, when I first went there, after all of the satisfaction with the choice and all that stuff, it did not faze me a bit because I was so pumped up about the opportunity and the potential of it, it wasn’t going to matter what other people thought.

The road had been paved already with coach [John] McKay and coach [John] Robinson, the guys who had been there, they had already done it. It was a matter of reconstructing it in the new times. We found that our way of doing it was really attractive to success and drawing people from all over the country, kids that wanted to come play for us, and the power of the following of L.A., whether it’s the media or Hollywood or whatever. Everybody was having fun with it. We were a big part of what was going on with the culture of the L.A. area.

The culture of L.A.? Did you see this as bigger than college football?

I don’t know that we made it bigger. I just think we connected with so many elements of that which is available there. You’re in a great place and thriving city with so much culture and so many issues and challenges and potential. There’s so much there that I was willing to go at in a way to try to embrace everything that supported the university. I felt the longer we were there, the more impact we might be able to have. So it became a calling in a sense to try to reach out and see what we could do to help. That’s what ‘A Better LA’ [foundation] was all about.

You were, at best, the third choice for the USC job. Did they luck into you?

They got me at a good time. They caught me at the right time, when I was ready to go. I had enough failed experiences to learn from. Eddie Orgeron being there, and Sark [Steve Sarkisian] and Lane [Kiffin], incredible coaches that were there and a big part of it. We hit it right.

The question is, ‘Oh, why don’t they just do it again?’ It’s hard, you know? As head coaching is, it’s a hard, complex job anyway, but in that environment and that setting it’s a challenge. It wasn’t too big and it wasn’t too much fun, it fit just right. That’s why it was such a great time in my life.

Is the formula repeatable?

I’d like to think so, yeah. But I think it was Joni Mitchell who said when somebody was screaming at her to sing one of those songs again, she said, ‘Well, why don’t you just paint another Starry Night?’ If you’ve got a masterpiece are you going to try to do it again? I don’t know. I think it’s a big challenge. There’s a lot of elements to it.

The expectations are part of the problem, but the expectations are also the key essence of the whole thing, because if you can meet those expectations you can do it.

So has USC asked for your input in the current situation?

I don’t even know anybody hardly down there. They’ve changed so much, I don’t even know what’s going on. That’s a good thing. They don’t need me.

latimes.com

___________

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Chris
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Chris (@chris)
October 12, 2021 8:30 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I’m not going to use names, just their position. There’s only 3 or 4 who play there, but no names.

ATL D.D.S.
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ATL D.D.S. (@atl-d-d-s)
October 13, 2021 8:14 am
Reply to  Chris

“And their initials are….”

Steveg
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Steveg (@steveg)
October 12, 2021 3:54 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

If USC could have won 10 games he perhaps would have been in the Heisman race. We all know at this rate of winning, along with the bias (west coast), and Pac12 insignificance he hardly will get a mention. I wish I was wrong about it, nobody is putting on a show like he is this year.

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 12, 2021 8:42 pm
Reply to  Steveg

Winning usually overcomes most obstacles. And winning should be the easiest playing in this conference where most administrations seem to be interested in just participating rather than having their football programs excel. After all, no one strives to qualify for the playoff except Oregon. One out of twelve programs says a lot about PAC-12 administration priorities. If your administration doesn’t care about playing championship level football, you are dead in the water.

Golden Trojan
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Golden Trojan (@golden-trojan)
October 12, 2021 5:07 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

In the 90s UCLA had JJ Stokes and SDSU had Marshall Faulk. You watched those guys in college and they were just far and away better than everyone else on the field. Stokes at 6’4″ was taller than most DBs of the day and could go up and get any ball thrown. I will never forget Faulk rolling out to the flat to the left, QB gets blind sided, linebacker takes the ball back to the right sideline towards the end zone. Faulk is almost to the line of scrimmage on the left, reverses field and catches the guy running… Read more »

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 12, 2021 8:55 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

There are more of them out there ready to commit somewhere Allen. We know this. Right now they don’t want to come here and be surrounded by 3-star overachievers, a non-experienced HC with a poor coaching staff. Mike Bohn #1 needs to find the right HC and he needs to convince Carol Folt to hire his choice.

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 13, 2021 10:40 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

If I were Mike Bohn, I would hire a consultant named Daryl Gross. I am a big MG supporter but I know it was Gross who convinced Garrett to interview PC and hire him. Gross went on to AD at Syracuse and hired a new football coach that changed the attitude of that program which was pretty dismal. Some people just have the knack of fitting the right person at the right time in the right places. Gross might be one of them? He sure did USC a huge favor when he was assistant AD here.

volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
October 13, 2021 1:14 pm
Reply to  Jamaica

Agree on a hiring firm or consultant. I have optimism on the hire due to the recent women’s basketball coach hire, his first head coach hire for one of the “major sports”. I think it was a great hire. Bohn certainly did go big on that one. If he does similarly in football, I will be very satisfied. All the assistant coach hires in football are hard to truly grade because of the influence of Helton. His culture was so terrible and embedded within almost every player, and I believe will not fully be changed without a complete cleaning house… Read more »

RialtoTrojan
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RialtoTrojan (@rialtotrojan)
October 12, 2021 12:27 pm

Just caught up on a few of the things Jon Gruden said in emails. The thought police, run by the cancel culture office are really digging deep for this stuff. He used the word pussy more than once, which reminds me to stick to Shakespeare when insulting people in print. “Tybalt, you rat catcher!”

LawyerJohn
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LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
October 12, 2021 12:40 pm
Reply to  RialtoTrojan

Seriously for a moment, Rialto, is the fact that what one writes, especially on the internet, might be there for years. So beware.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 12, 2021 5:21 pm
Reply to  LawyerJohn

You’re correct, everything …
I mean everything is kept here :The Utah Data Center (UDC), also known as the Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center, is a data storage facility …
everything you ever write, blogs, emails, texts is kept at least 20 years

RialtoTrojan
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RialtoTrojan (@rialtotrojan)
October 12, 2021 5:58 pm
Reply to  LawyerJohn

I agree LawyerJohn, a reason I will never run for office (not overlooking the fact I’m not qualified) I have stepped in it several times being silly. My point is how deep they are diving and cherry-picking. Walter Martin, the Bible answer man once said you can quote the Bible correctly while making your own proof. “Judas hanged himself Matthew 27:5 And Jesus said now go and do likewise Luke 10:37.”

Last edited 13 days ago by RialtoTrojan
ATL D.D.S.
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ATL D.D.S. (@atl-d-d-s)
October 13, 2021 8:19 am
Reply to  LawyerJohn

The only capital crime in the current USA, LJ, is saying mean things (verbally or in writing or maybe in your thoughts). What a nation of triggered pussies we have become!

volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
October 12, 2021 4:48 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Ha, same for Urban. Both were better in the booth than their returns to the sidelines.

alfa1
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alfa1 (@alfa1)
October 12, 2021 5:24 pm

we should remember that, when we start piping up about Stoops and Petersen

volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
October 13, 2021 6:59 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

If both were an option, assuming others were also available, neither at this point…but if I had to take one of the two, then assuming I’m picking for a college coaching position, I’d have to go with Urban. He has already proven to be a successful college head coach. Gruden hasn’t proven anything since TB years ago. As far as trying to judge whose missteps are the worse, I won’t go there, but Gruden’s appear to be offensive in more areas, so I’m not sure he could effectively lead a multi-cultural team anymore.

ATL D.D.S.
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ATL D.D.S. (@atl-d-d-s)
October 13, 2021 8:21 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Urban–because he is an outstanding coach of college football. Gruden–well, some coaches are just not built for the college game.

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 11, 2021 6:54 pm

Michael Pittman is balling !!!!!…….FIGHT ON !!!!!

rleeholder1
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rleeholder1 (@rleeholder1)
October 12, 2021 1:46 am
Reply to  HOF19

He “Mossed” the guy from the Ravens!

HOF19
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HOF19 (@hof19)
October 11, 2021 6:51 pm

Here in the NY Metro area the Head Coach of Kentucky’s stock seems to be on the rise …….I like a coach that can raise a program up and (maybe) not have the recruiting resources of the bigger programs . Makes me wonder what he can do with a more talented roster ……FIGHT ON !!!!!

Rock2112
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Rock2112 (@rock2112)
October 11, 2021 6:25 pm

Well, Gruden’s available. I am SURE Folt is on the phone right now.

volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
October 11, 2021 6:26 pm
Reply to  Rock2112

Was about to post that. Except for that old email, he meets all the Caruso criteria.

Rock2112
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Rock2112 (@rock2112)
October 11, 2021 6:32 pm

“Except for that old email” — with Folt, that’s like saying “Except for that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?” Ha!

Steveg
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Steveg (@steveg)
October 11, 2021 6:40 pm
Reply to  Rock2112

Gruden made a comment years ago that there was only one college job he would take, and it wasn’t USC.
Maybe times have changed, both him and Folty.

Last edited 14 days ago by Steveg
volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
October 11, 2021 6:48 pm
Reply to  Rock2112

Yep, tru dat. How to convey a tongue-in-cheek quip in text…sigh.

So many, “Except for that…moments in the field of candidates, it’s going to be hard to find a perfect human.

Urban, except for that video in the bar…
Pete, except for that rental house…
Steve, except for that rant at the donor event…
Ed, except for those sexual assault allegations…
Bobby, except for that motorcycle ride…
James, except for that cell phone video…

There are a few, but not many, especially among those not currently coaching. Stoops? Petersen?

It’s gonna be a fun couple of months!

Rock2112
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Rock2112 (@rock2112)
October 12, 2021 10:11 am

Great point VT! We’re going to have to wait for the Second Coming to get our coach!

I remember when Stoops retired out of nowhere, there was talk that the NCAA had put him personally on double secret notice that it might be a good time to go. Heh hemmmm.

So it’s down to Petersen and he doesn’t want us! (And I’ve never been crazy about him anyway).

How about an open campus competition for “walk-on Head Coach”? The kids can fire up the old NCAA 2014, and whoever wins the Natty gets front-runner status!

TrojanMPA90
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TrojanMPA90 (@trojanmpa90)
October 11, 2021 7:07 pm
Reply to  Rock2112

No way does SC hire Gruden with the emails and what he said in them. We don’t need that kind of attention.

volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
October 11, 2021 7:11 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

None, but his name will still be thrown out there a time or two.

TrojanMPA90
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TrojanMPA90 (@trojanmpa90)
October 11, 2021 6:11 pm

When Pete was first hired, I thought Mike Garrett was crazy. Glad I was proved wrong and things turned out the way they did. The standard he established for the program is what we all expect now. Any coach coming in has to be prepared to meet that standard.

The real question is who will Mike Bohn hire to meet that standard.

Steveg
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Steveg (@steveg)
October 11, 2021 4:39 pm

I think the thing I liked the most about the PC era was the swagger. USC was hated by everyone and every team played USC like it was their championship game. USC just took it all in stride and continued to roll. not getting overly excited about an upcoming opponent or after beating them. It was positive, professional, under control, and one of the most exciting periods of USC football.

LawyerJohn
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LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
October 11, 2021 4:58 pm
Reply to  Steveg

All true, especially that 2003-2005 period when the team was shooting for 3 National Championships in a row, and only lost their last game because of Reggie Bush’s mysterious decision to lateral the ball when SC was in beautiful control of that Rose Bowl game. Oh yeah, and Vince Young at the end…. I followed the team around those 3-years from Auburn to Nebraska to Oregon. I don’t know if the team had a swagger, but I did. And aside from sucla and Oregon fans, those teams were not hated, but discreetly admired. I was obsessed with those 2003-2005 teams… Read more »

rleeholder1
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rleeholder1 (@rleeholder1)
October 12, 2021 1:59 am
Reply to  Steveg

Very well said Steveg. I was bored yesterday afternoon after the HOU-CHISOX ALDS game was postponed, so I watched the 2008 Rose Bowl vs Illinois replay on U-Tube. I actually attended the game and took my son who was 13 at the time. I forgot how good a QB John David Booty was for SC. Joe McKnight, may he R.I.P., was a Freshman and he had a great game. The Linebacking crew of Rey Malaluga (sp) and Brian Cushing was tremendous, safety was Taylor Mays, Sam Baker, All-American, was on the OL, Fred Davis the Mackey Award winner as best… Read more »

LawyerJohn
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LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
October 12, 2021 6:53 am
Reply to  rleeholder1

Those were the days when the SC players complained about having to go to 4 straight Rose Bowls. You wouldn’t hear the current team complaining about such a situation.

rleeholder1
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rleeholder1 (@rleeholder1)
October 12, 2021 10:20 am
Reply to  LawyerJohn

As you would think Jim Healy would say using Tommy Lasorda’s quote about Kurt Bevacqua back in the day, the current team “couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a f*ckin’ boat!”

volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
October 12, 2021 11:48 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Contrast that to that embarrassing entry into ATT stadium, which proceeded getting waxed by the much more ready and capable team. I would have loved to have seen one of Pete’s great teams take on one of Saban’s great teams.

rleeholder1
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rleeholder1 (@rleeholder1)
October 11, 2021 4:34 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I remember seeing a TV interview with PC soon after he took the Seahawks job. The reporter asked him a direct question about what he knew, and when he knew it, regarding the Bush affair. Pete was very evasive and elusive. For those of us who took Management Development courses in our careers, especially on the subject of negotiation and reading body language, Pete knows a lot more than what he leads people to believe. I could see it in his face and body language during the interview. I wouldn’t be surprised if he knew exactly what was going on… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by rleeholder1
Rock2112
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Rock2112 (@rock2112)
October 12, 2021 10:39 am
Reply to  Allen Wallace

I don’t know if PC knew about what Reggie and his family had going. More likely, he was in a “see no evil, hear no evil” mode. Like USC as a whole, he certainly wasn’t scrutinizing anything, and back then everyone knew full well you don’t let the HC in on any of that stuff. It is not debatable what PC knew when he chose to go to Seattle. He had the NCAA’s notice of allegations in hand, which contained 90 percent of the made-up facts that they ultimately used to crush SC. It would have been obvious to PC… Read more »

volunteerTrojan
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volunteerTrojan (@volunteertrojan)
October 12, 2021 11:59 am
Reply to  Rock2112

Pete strikes me as a very bright individual. He learned from his mistakes during his first stint in the pros, rebranded himself at USC, and parlayed that into creating a perennial contender in Seattle, which had never been done up there. Like you, Rock, I have nothing but fond memories of the PC days (except for maybe about 60 seconds of a certain Rose Bowl game), and am appreciative for his willingness to come down from the pros and give it his all for the Trojans. Pete did nothing more egregious than many of his contemporary college coaches, much less… Read more »

RialtoTrojan
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RialtoTrojan (@rialtotrojan)
October 11, 2021 3:26 pm

I finally got to see the video of our latest game. I watched until the end first half. What I saw was poor game management. This includes calling time out after a play was set up and then not defending it well. I wonder if the coaches realized that calling time out before that play more than likely led to the touchdown that many claim was the backbreaking play. Honestly if I didn’t know better, I’d believe that our coaches had never seen organized football. Harrell was an air raid quarterback and must not know how play under center. Many… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 11, 2021 3:29 pm
Reply to  RialtoTrojan

My favorite play was the flea flicker to end the 1st half. The D played like a bad high school D on that play. How do you let any receiver behind you? This D is bad. WSU ate it alive for a half and then lost their starting QB. CO must have one of the worst Os in the nation to score only 14 on this crew.

Jalenbuck1
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Jalenbuck1 (@jalenbuck1)
October 11, 2021 2:47 pm

Much like now we wanted Dennis Erickson, Mike Riley and a few others who had just settled in at other places. Pete noted we were a slow team and lacked toughness and fundamentals. I believe whomever we hire will need to recruit heavily and get players from Ohio, Washington DC and those areas the Big 10 used to covet. Late in the Carroll tenure we got players from Florida and back east. Now that so many L.A guys are departing elsewhere that leaves a goldmine of talent wanting to payback the teams that passed over them.

Jamaica
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Jamaica (@jamaica)
October 11, 2021 2:35 pm

USC did luck out in hiring PC at the right time. He was available and ready to rebuild his reputation after getting fired a 2nd time in the NFL. And he knew two things that would make this job successful: hiring position coaches that knew what the h*ll they were doing and, recruiting the best talent out there, across the Country. He also encompassed LA-Hollywood as a selling point to recruits. Is there another headcoaching candidate out there that has energy, the contacts to bring in top position coaches and has a reputation as a top recruiter? You don’t have… Read more »

LawyerJohn
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LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
October 11, 2021 2:32 pm

Whatever magic Pete wielded during his SC tenure included recruiting great players at every position, and the Trojans’ short dynasty started with that 2003 Auburn game where the Tigers’ fans were beside themselves being rated No. 1. Never saw such an excited group before a football game.,,, However, after 2 poor years under Carroll, the Trojans surprised everybody by arriving with a well-stocked group of offensive and defensive talent, and Leinart finished the Tigers off with the first play of the second half when a short roll-out pass play went for some 30-yards. By the 4th quarter the same ‘Auburn… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
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TrojanRJJ (@trojanrjj)
October 11, 2021 3:26 pm
Reply to  LawyerJohn

John, Did you go to the Auburn game? I did and was wonderful. I have never met such a wonderful group of fans in my life. They were extraordinarily friendly. Beautiful campus. But, boy was it ever hot! I had a really great time.

LawyerJohn
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LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
October 11, 2021 4:30 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

Yes, RJJ, I could not write about that game without having been there, and don’t you recall how excited the fans were before the game, and how they turned on their team booing at the end of a 23-0 wipeout?– That is not “wonderful” behavior where I come from.

Chris
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Chris (@chris)
October 11, 2021 3:51 pm
Reply to  LawyerJohn

LJ, Pete only had 1 down year and had us rolling in year 2. Carson Palmer won the heisman and we smashed Iowa in orange bowl. Could have beat anyone in country by years end.

Steveg
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Steveg (@steveg)
October 11, 2021 4:33 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen I watched Palmer and he had improved a lot but his guys around him improved immensely also. I think with those guys playing like they did won the Heisman for him, giving him the time to be the star he was.

LawyerJohn
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LawyerJohn (@lawyerjohn)
October 11, 2021 4:26 pm
Reply to  Chris

I stand corrected, Pete only had that one bad year, his first, in 2001. 2002 was very good but Troy was not in the running for the National Championship at the end, and 2003-2005 was a Trifecta, except for that Vince Young.