USC coach Pete Carroll then stepped up the microphone and, appearing agitated and speaking with the vigor of a leader who had just lost a hard-fought battle, made it clear that Sanchez was going against his advice.Ouch. I think it's safe to say that Carroll isn't exactly throwing his support behind this decision. But really, what does he expect?
"Mark is going against the grain and he knows that," Carroll said, "and he's OK with that."
In leaving with another year of eligibility still available to him, Carroll said, Sanchez was "challenging the process." Carroll noted that Sanchez started only 16 games in college -- his team going 14-2 -- and referred to "the plight of" other quarterbacks who failed in pro football after leaving college early.
When you're churning out pro prospects the way USC is, some of them are going to leave early. And once Sam Bradford announced that he was coming back, it only made sense for Sanchez to declare. Matt Stafford is guaranteed a spot somewhere near the top of the first round, but other than that, the pickings are pretty thin at QB this year. Sanchez apparently learned a little about supply and demand in his time at USC.
Yeah, he probably should have gone back for another year -- he could have significantly improved his draft stock, obviously. But really, would he have been that much better off in the long run by returning to school and dominating a watered-down Pac-10 for another season? Probably not.
As for Carroll ... lighten up. You've got the top-rated quarterback in 2006 (Mitch Mustain) competing with the top-rated quarterback in 2008 (Matt Barkley) and a four-star recruit in 2007 (Aaron Corp) for the starting QB job next year, and you return everyone else on offense other than receiver Patrick Turner.
Oh, and you're the coach at freakin' USC. Enough said.