SANTA CLARA – Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll spoke to Bay Area reporters Tuesday on a conference call. Here’s what he said.
Q: What are you impressions of your rookie QB, Russell Wilson?
CARROLL: He’s an amazing young man. He has been impressive since the first the first time we ever talked to him. Russell’s never taken a step sideways. He’s just been right on point with his identity, with his character, with his direction, with his motivation. That’s just who he is. Nothing has even begun to get him off course. He’s an amazing young man.
Q: When you first talked to him, did he sound like a typical rookie?
CARROLL: No, that’s my point. He sounds like a guy who’s been prepared for years for this. He’s been through everything and he’s precocious in every way. He’s bright and he’s clear and he’s confident – all of those things are part of his makeup and what he offers the club that he plays for. He’s so real that everybody quickly accepts him. He gets along with everybody. As we’ve started these games he continues to do cool things.
Q: How good of a blueprint did the 49ers give you in playing the 49ers?
CARROLL: Everybody’s got their own deal, their own style that they play. They did a really good job. Obviously the turnovers were the story of that game. It’s uncharacteristic for [the 49ers] to have to deal with the turnovers. Turnovers will kill any kind of effort, particularly when they happen in that kind of field position.
Q: What are you expecting from the 49ers’ offense?
CARROLL: With the running game that the 49ers have, it’s all about that run. You have stop that thing from happening. They’re a frigging machine running the football. It begins there, and then we have to think about the pass rush. It’s a two-headed monster that they present with a terrific running game, and then a passing game that has tremendous dynamics to it. They’ve really grown their system in a short time since last year. Alex is throwing everything you can think of. He’s great with the play-action stuff and great with the quick game. They get the ball down the field with all kinds of actions. [Wide receivers coach] Johnnie Morton’s in their drawing up those doggone routes, it makes it hard on us. We have a very difficult challenge.
Q: These last three games they’ve put a lot of Kaepernick stuff on film. Do you try to project for what special wrinkles they might produce Thursday night?
CARROLL: Yes, we do. That’s a big challenge in any week, especially a week that’s short. There’s a lot of complexities and things that they do. Fortunately for us, we just played Carolina and we saw one of the top running quarterbacks in the league [Cam Newton]. They have enormous running package for the QB. So we’ll try to bank off that some. They’ve definitely taken Kaepernick’s game to a new level – not just running it but throwing it as well. They even finished the game with him last week. That causes some big problems. In fact, they play both quarterback together. It gives you a Wildcat plus a guy who can throw it, and I’m talking about Kaepernick.
Q: Do you see them as being more of a threat vertically in the passing game than they were a year ago?
CARROLL: By the time they were in the playoffs they were throwing the ball all over the place. They’ve started out the season that way as well.
Q: You’ve coached against Harbaugh many times now. Is he a guy you look forward to matching wits against?
CARROLL: Anybody that does really well. The better the coaching, the better the challenge. Jim’s done a tremendous, fantastic job. You can’t do a whole lot better than he did last year. Just like last week coaching against Coach Belichick, that was a great honor and a challenge. You look forward to it. It’s fun to do that. Jim and I have had some battles and we’re going to have some more. I hope it’s a good one this week.