Thursday in Hawkville: Pete Carroll has Carolina on his mind

Russell Wilson, J.R. Sweezy and Steven Hauschka played at North Carolina State, and Pete Carroll also coached there. But the only Carolina on Carroll’s mind this week is the Panthers.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 8, when the Seahawks held their "No Repeat Friday" practice as they continued to prepare for Saturday night's divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field:

FOCUS ON: THE CAROLINA CONNECTION

It was a relaxed and, when prompted, reflective Pete Carroll who faced the media after the Seahawks' final full practice before Saturday night's game divisional playoff game against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field.

The Seahawks have three players who went to North Carolina State – quarterback Russell Wilson, right guard J.R. Sweezy and kicker Steven Hauschka.

But Carroll also has some Wolfpack memories in his coaching background and was asked about his time at North Carolina State by a Charlotte TV reporter who is in town for the game.

"That was the first time that I was a defensive coordinator," said Carroll, who joked that he could remember his time with the Wolfpack just not which years he was there.

YOU DON'T SAY

"I don't mean to be blunt, but the last three years don't matter to me. They were a different team, and we were a different team six games ago."

Panthers QB Cam Newton, who is 0-3 against the Seahawks the past three seasons


It was 1980-82, when he was on the staff of first-time head coach Monte Kiffin.

"We had a blast," Carroll said. "It didn't work out quite right. We didn't win enough games. But it was really cool to be in the ACC at the time. The rivalries and the matchups are really classic. Not everybody understands around the country, but it was fun to be involved in all that."

After that brief mental stroll down memory lane, Carroll refocused on the Carolina at hand: The Panthers, who come into CenturyLink Field on a five-game winning streak.

"We know we're up against a really difficult opponent," Carroll said. "They challenge us in many ways. We have great respect for their players and their coach and the way they do things. We've had nothing but tough games with these guys."     

INJURY REPORT: BYRON MAXWELL RETURNS TO PRACTICE

STAT DU JOUR: QB-TO-QB COMPARISON

The Seahawks' Russell Wilson and Panthers' Cam Newton have played against each other the past three seasons. Here's a look at how each quarterback has done in those games, all in Charlotte:

Russell Wilson
Season Att. Comp. Yards TD Int. Rating
2012 25 19 221 1 2 76.0
2013 33 25 320 1 0 115.7
2014 32 20 199 1 1 77.5
Totals 90 64 740 3 3 92.8
Rushing: 5 carries for 12 yards in 2012; 5 carries for 7 yards in 2013; 6 carries for 35 yards this season.

Cam Newton
Season Att. Comp. Yards TD Int. Rating
2012 29 12 141 0 0 56.8
2013 23 16 125 1 0 97.2
2014 22 12 171 0 1 61.0
Totals 74 40 437 1 1 70.6
Rushing: 7 carries for 42 yards in 2012; 5 carries for 38 yards in 2013; 12 carries for 24 yards this season.

The official report, as issued by the team:

Out
SS Jeron Johnson (elbow)

Did not practice
TE Tony Moeaki (calf)

Full participation
DL Michael Bennett (not injury related)
DE Demarcus Dobbs (ankle)
TE Cooper Helfet (ribs)
WR Jermaine Kearse (hamstring)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
CB Byron Maxwell (illness)
CB Tharold Simon (shoulder)
C Max Unger (knee/ankle)

Maxwell was back after sitting out Wednesday's practice and is ready to go, Carroll said. Moeaki got what Carroll called "a very slight strain" of his calf in practice on Tuesday and his status will be a game-day decision.

For the Panthers:

Did not practice
DT Star Lotulelei (foot)

Limited in practice
WR Philly Brown (shoulder)
FS Thomas DeCoud (hamstring)

Full participation
LB A.J. Klein (ankle)
CB Melvin White (ankle)

Brown, who is averaging a team-high 14.1 yards on his 21 receptions, was limited after not practicing on Wednesday.

OPPONENT WATCH: GREG OLSEN

The Panthers' tight end was voted to his first Pro Bowl last week after producing career-highs with 84 receptions for 1,008 yards, and also scoring six touchdowns. But Olsen is no stranger to the Seahawks, and especially Kam Chancellor.

As the Seahawks' All-Pro strong safety stepped to the podium after practice, Chancellor was asked about the challenge presented by the 6-foot-5, 253-pound Olsen.

"I knew that was going to be the first question," Chancellor offered with a smile.

He then added, "That's an athletic tight end. He's been in the league for a while, so he's definitely advanced. He's experienced. He knows what he's going to get out there. He's just a guy who gives maximum effort."

After being acquired in a 2011 trade with the Chicago Bears, all Olsen has done is set and break the Panthers' franchise record for receptions by a tight end: 69 in 2012, 73 in 2013 and 88 this season.

In his matchups against the Seahawks and Chancellor the past three seasons, Olsen has caught two passes for 37 yards (in 2012), five passes for 56 yards (2013) and one pass for 16 yards (in Week 8 this season).

UP NEXT: "BLUE FRIDAY"

While the players are conducting their "Review Saturday" walkthrough at VMAC, a "Blue Friday" Playoff Rally will be held at Renton City Hall starting at 11:30 a.m. A 12 Flag also will be raised atop the Space Needle in Seattle at 9 a.m.

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