When the Seahawks announced that Carl Smith would be joining Pete Carroll’s staff, the obvious question was: To do what?
That’s because Smith’s resume spans both sides of the ball, and every position on either side – as well as the college ranks and two professional leagues. In a coaching career that began in 1971 as a graduate assistant at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, his alma mater, the Seahawks’ new quarterbacks coach has coached:
Linebackers, at the University of Colorado (1973).
Defensive line, at Louisiana-Lafayette (1974).
Defensive backs, also at Louisiana-Lafayette (1975-76).
Running backs, again at Louisiana-Lafayette (1977-78), where he also was the offensive coordinator.
Quarterbacks, first at Lamar (1979-80), where he again also was the offensive coordinator; later at North Carolina State (1982), where he also was the offensive coordinator; then in the NFL with the Saints (1986-96), Patriots (1997) and Browns (2001-03 and 2009-10). He also had a one-year stint at USC (2004), where he worked for Carroll and with Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart.
Offensive line, again at Lamar (1981).
Tight ends, with the USFL franchise in Philadelphia (1983), where he also coached the special teams; and later with the Patriots (1998-99), when he also worked with Carroll.
Wide receivers, also in the USFL (1984-85).
Smith also has been an assistant head coach in the NFL – with the Patriots in 1997, when Carroll was the head coach; and an offensive coordinator – most recently with the Jaguars in 2005-06.
In his latest coaching incarnation, Smith replaces Jedd Fisch as the Seahawks QB coach. Fisch left after one season to become offensive coordinator at the University of Miami.
Smith, 62, joins an offensive staff that also has a new coordinator (Darrell Bevell) and line coach (Tom Cable, also the assistant head coach).
Carroll envisions Smith’s experience and extensive background being a good mix with the talent and temperament Bevell and Cable bring to an offensive staff that also includes holdovers Sherman Smith (running backs), Kippy Brown (wide receivers), Pat McPherson (tight ends) and Pat Ruel (assistant offensive line).
Their collective task is improving a running game that ranked 31st in the league and 28th overall during the 2010 season.
“I’m not changing the philosophy at all. I’m right on the philosophy, right with the commitment that we had from the beginning,” said Carroll, whose intention entering his first season as coach was to be more balanced and productive than the Seahawks were.
“I want to bring it to life more so. I want to make sure that we’re able to do all of the things that we believe are important – the balance we want to create, the attitude about the running game, the toughness that it brings to our whole approach.”
Smith is here – in his 22nd NFL season and with his fifth team – to help his old friend do just that.