Debating the victory

Coach Carroll’s in-practice scoring system — the one that’s designed to breed competition and bring out the best in the players — is already reaping its rewards.

On the scripted last play of today’s final team period in this minicamp’s second practice, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck completed a pass to fullback Owen Schmitt to even up the score at eight play victories apiece. Though the workout was scripted to be over then, Carroll paused for effect and declared one final sudden-death snap to break the tie.

With the top units battling against each other, Hasselbeck rolled out to his left and got off a pass just as defensive end Nick Reed was closing in. The pass found the receiver’s grasp, inciting a celebration by the offense, though the defense claimed Reed would’ve sacked the quarterback if the action was live. The light-hearted yet heated debate raged on as Carroll brought his troops together for a team huddle to close out the practice.

Carroll — the self-designated official scorekeeper — declared an overall practice victory for the offense, though some players on both sides of the ball might say otherwise.

“I think it was probably a sack,” Hasselbeck said with a grin.

Either way, the fun-filled scenario churned the competitive juices inside all the players, achieving exactly what Carroll desires from the daily exercise.

“That’s how we’re going to make us, by competing every single snap,” the head coach said. “That attitude and drive is what’s going to make us better.”

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