During meetings and practice Tuesday, Coach Pete Carroll kept referring to one aspect of the game that’s “a really, really big deal for us.”
Two-minute drill? Third-down defense? The field goal unit?
None of the above. Try the kickoff coverage team.
“It’s such a cool part of football,” Carroll told his players on Tuesday morning, when the kickoff unit was introduced and installed for the first time this offseason. “It shows who we are and sets the tone for the rest of the game.”
It’s the kickoff team’s potential impact that gets Carroll so pumped up. Carroll and special teams coordinator Brian Schneider discussed how much of a difference a strong kickoff coverage unit makes on the tenor of a game — and then emphasized how they want the Seahawks kickoff unit to be the type that goes “all out, crazy as ever.”
“There’s not one guy in this room who can’t wait to see the kickoff team go wild,” Carroll said. “There’s nobody in here who doesn’t want that.”
And just how much does Carroll value the effect of a potent kickoff unit? During his nine seasons at USC, Carroll’s teams won 65 pre-game coin tosses, with the head coach electing to defer and kick off to start the game 100 percent of the time.
“Our standard isn’t normal,” Carroll told the entire team. “We’ve got to practice being great in this phase because it will be huge for us this season.”