Wow. As you all know by now, I am a fan of the Maize and Blue, and their football coach has often been criticized for being—how do you say—kind of a jerk. And, as a fan of Michigan, I’m often finding myself a bit, um, annoyed by the P.C.-ness of Senator Tressel. And, there have even been ruminations here at this very site about a little USC-envy, even in spite of Pete Carroll’s OSU-tinted dismissal of some chicanery.
But there is one thing about USC that reared its ugly head yesterday about which none of us are envious: Pete Carroll all but shoving Mark Sanchez under a fleet of buses after the QB’s decision to enter the NFL draft after his redshirt-junior season.
Really, who can blame Sanchez for leaving? He’s had knee problems (risk of injury: check), two of the three blue-chip underclass QBs (Bradford, McCoy) returned to school (thinner positional competition in the draft: check), and there are some (*cough*Kiper*cough*) who have projected him as high as #1 or #3 (stock at the top: check). He supposedly spoke with Matt Leinart, and financially speaking one would assume Leinart was less than enthusiastic in the hindsight of his decision to return, and the projected subsequent $30 million it might have cost him.
So, why is it that Pete Carroll was so… alright, I’ll say it: snotty to Sanchez during their presser yesterday?
And, more importantly, why was the media so willing to let it slide, for the most part? Other than Arash Markazi, I haven’t read anything from someone at a major media outlet who was willing to call Carroll out for what he said about Sanchez, though Reid Cherner & Tom Weir of USA Today have an interesting question about whether his public scuttling of the Sanchez will end up costing the QB money. After all, if your college coach thinks you’re not ready for the NFL, why would an NFL front office want to pay you like you are?
Carroll is certainly entitled to his opinion, and one can probably guess that, with 21 other starters returning from a top-5 team, he’s a little ticked that his QB is now leaving. Even still, regardless of how Carroll feels about the subject AND whether or not he may be RIGHT in his assessment of Sanchez’s decision, how can a coach possibly think it’s a cool move to publicly slam a player like that? When Carroll left the presser and didn’t even slow down as he passed Sanchez with only a quick “Good luck” and a tap of the shoulder (photo above), even THAT was a jerk move.
Even worse than THAT, there is an article on Carroll’s website (Did you know Pete Carroll has a website?? I know, I didn’t either!!) in which he took the time to delve deeper into what he’d already publicly said about Sanchez’s decision:
“The facts are so strong against this decision,” Carroll said. “After analyzing all the information, the truth is there — he should’ve stayed for another year.”
Carroll cited a study that shows 62 percent of underclassmen quarterbacks who declare early for the Draft eventually don’t pan out in the NFL. He also pointed to Sanchez’s NFL Draft evaluation, which projected Sanchez as a second-round selection.
“Mark’s chance to increase his value and become the top player in college football next year would have been worth $10-$20 million or more — likely more,” Carroll said. “One more year of running a team is almost priceless, so he lost the chance to fully prepare himself and become the very best he could be before going to the NFL.
“That’s why there’s a 62 percent failure rate for underclassmen quarterbacks.”
Peter Clay Carroll, you get back in this house this instant! Allow me to channel one of the few lines from Dante from Clerks that I can print on this site: “Like, what do you do for an encore?? [Do something really, really bad] while pouring sugar in my gas tank??” More importantly, what could Sanchez have done to you to make you snap like this?
I think it’s safe to say that whatever grudges I have against Tressel (and believe me, most of them are rooted in jealousy) and whatever misgivings I may have about Rich Rodriguez (not to mention the jealousy-driven spite I have for Carroll independent of this little episode), none of us have ever heard our coach(es) publicly bash one of his players. And let’s hope that continues to be the case.