Southern Cal football coach Pete Carroll, who months earlier had lambasted quarterback Mark Sanchez for his decision to skip his senior season and go pro, executed a dubious about-face at the team’s pro day yesterday. In front of the NFL’s scouteratti, Carroll talked up his quarterback–and everyone ate it up.
“[Carroll] made a point to really go to bat for Sanchez,” a scout said. “You could tell he meant it.”
Carroll told the group that his public frosting of Sanchez — including the comment the player made a “bad choice” — was meant to test his resolve, to see if he truly had his heart set on turning pro right away or if he would waffle. Sanchez didn’t waver.
“He told us, ‘I challenged him. I wanted him to make the right decision,’ ” the scout said. “He said, ‘I love the kid. I support him. I think he’ll make a good pro.’ “
How inspiring! And totally believable! See, I would have thought that Carroll finally realized what a douchebag he’d been all along and then suddenly stepped up to support a player that would be representing his program in the NFL. And personally, I think Carroll was right the first time. Sanchez has put together, what, one good season? It works in his favor that there’s nobody in front of him besides consensus No. 1 Matt Stafford. He’s the Hootie and the Blowfish of this draft, and even those guys managed to put together one solid payday.