Seahawks Off and definitely running

Published on July 31, 2010 by     

The Seahawks opened their first training camp under new coach Pete Carroll on Saturday morning, and there’s no escaping that his infectious impact is being felt.

The not-so-subtle reminders that the Seahawks opened Bing Training Camp on Saturday morning were everywhere.

The not-so-subtle reminders that the Seahawks opened Bing Training Camp on Saturday morning were everywhere.

On the logos painted onto the practice fields. On the newly erected scoreboard that dominates the northeast corner of those fields. On the banners along the fences that line the fields.

But make no mistake – this is Camp Carroll. Not only first and foremost, but feverishly. The impact that new coach Pete Carroll is having – and has had – on this team is even more obvious than the sponsorship logos.

“Coach Carroll, he’s got the same energy, the same focus on competing and effort and everyone’s following through with it and we’re all excited to be out here,” said wide receiver Mike Williams, who played for Carroll at the University of Southern California in 2002-03 and then was a first-round draft choice by the Detroit Lions – only to be reunited with Carroll this offseason.

“This first practice, for the start of camp, was great. Everybody was flying around, everybody was helping each other. All the coaches were bouncing around. It’s just a carryover from what this offseason has been for us and everyone is excited to move forward.”

Williams, one of eight former USC players on the roster, was spot on with that assessment. Carroll’s infectious enthusiasm is nothing new. He has been whirling around the Virginia Mason Athletic Center with unbridled passion since he was hired in January. But Saturday morning was the first time a practice was open to the public, so the team’s fans finally got a taste of what life under Carroll will be like.

If those in attendance couldn’t tell that Carroll loves the game, his job and the challenge facing him, they simply weren’t paying attention.

Exhibit A: During one of the first drills – and a bag drill, at that – Carroll turned toward the fans along the fence and those sitting on the berm. He waved his arms and roared at them to pump up the volume. Carroll was on one field, with the defensive players. The offensive players were on the other field, away from the cheering fans and their cheerleader of a coach.

“I’m sure we’re going to watch film of the bag drill and see who had the most intensity,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “It’s a competitive thing, offense vs. defense.”

A bag drill? “That’s just an example of situations he’s trying to put us in,” Hasselbeck said.

That’s also why 15 of the team’s 20 training camp practices at Virginia Mason Athletic Center are open to the public – as is an Aug. 8 practice at the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium.

“You never come out and not play in front of a crowd, so he’s trying to make things as game-like as possible,” Hasselbeck said. “Whenever you’re out there stretching (before a game) there’s music (as there was during practice). He’s trying to make it like a game.”

Obviously, the players already have gotten used to the way Carroll attacks even the most-minute details, or drills. Or have they?

Hasselbeck shared this anecdote from a recent meeting with Carroll.

“When you get called in to talk to the head coach from time to time, it’s usually like you’re sitting in his office,” he said. “The other day, Pete asked to talk to me and we talked over a game of one-on-one basketball.

“And he was in flip flops.”

Then there was the time Hasselbeck and fellow QB Charlie Whitehurstwanted to throw. But they had no receivers at their disposal because, as Hasselbeck put it, “(Strength and conditioning coach) Chris Carlisle ran them into the ground” during a just-finished workout.

“So Pete came out and ran routes for us,” Hasselbeck said, shaking his head and smiling. “Just the competitive nature in him, as we would throw him the ball, he would try to throw it back harder than we threw it to him.

“So it’s just who he is. I mean everything is like that. It’s fun. It’s fresh. It’s just new. And it’s kind of exciting.”

Say what you will about the team’s new coach, and his coaching methods and the way he attacks life. Just don’t try to label him this, that or even the other.

“Pete is not the kind of guy you can put in a box,” Hasselbeck said. “The people that have been around him, they seem to have a general sense. But I mean it’s honestly as different as …”

Hasselbeck stopped short of finishing the comparison, only to add, “It’s different, but there is a plan and a purpose for everything that we do.”

What else would you expect at Camp Carroll?

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