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Pete Carroll: Steve Sarkisian's USC background set him apart


Before Steve Sarkisian began his head coaching career -- first at Washington and now as the new coach at USC -- he served as an assistant coach under Pete Carroll amid the Trojans' rise as a Pac-12 powerhouse.

Carroll, who coached at USC from 2001-2009 before becoming the Seattle Seahawks head coach, gave kudos to USC on Friday for its hiring of Sarkisian, saying his background and experience with the program helped distinguish him from the other candidates.

"He has all of the history and the background of that area in Los Angeles, which is so crucial because he grew up there and played there," Carroll said in an interview with NFL Media's Dan Hellie. "I think more than anything, he understands the Trojans and USC, probably more than anyone else they could have hired at this time.

"Ed Orgeron was a great prospect for that job as well, and unfortunately, there's only one spot," Carroll said. "But Sark will do a great job for them."

Orgeron became USC's interim head coach after Lane Kiffin was fired in September and went on to lead the Trojans to a 6-2 record. He resigned after Sarkisian was hired Monday.

Carroll credited Sarkisian for being a great offensive coach, something Carroll would certainly know about. Sarkisian was the quarterbacks coach in Carroll's first few seasons at USC and also served as the Trojans' offensive coordinator in 2007.

This season, Washington ranks No. 8 in the nation in total offense, at 514.3 yards per game.

Carroll's biggest advice for Sarkisian, who now takes on perhaps the most high-profile coaching job in the Pac-12: "Always be yourself," he said. "He's very confident. He's been through it. He knows what it takes to bring out his best. Always be the person that you are. He'll do that. He'll bring great character and leadership, I'm sure."

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