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August 26, 2008Pete Carroll sat down for the first media luncheon of the year Tuesday afternoon, and before things got started, he quipped about how things don't seem to change.
The team enters the season highly regarded, the team has marquee names and expectations are high.
Oh, and they're serving pasta and salad to the press.
"I see the menu hasn't changed," Carroll said.
Carroll met with the press for 30 minutes, talking about the upcoming season opener at the Virginia, his team's good luck on the injury front and his plans for his own depth chart.
By opening at Virginia, Carroll said his team will get the kind of test early he wants.
"We're really pumped up, and we're coming out of camp with a pretty good feeling," Carroll said. "It means a lot if they can get the win - accomplish a lot by going on the road and getting the win. It'll add to our confidence.
"This game makes us better. It's demanding of our football team."
Carroll said he'd always rather open the schedule with tougher teams, testing his team each week.
"I like how this one feels, the talk and the build up," Carroll said. "This suits us well. To do what we want to do, we have to win every game anyway."
Carroll said his team is physically ready for their opener at Virginia.
Mark Sanchez looks like he'll be ready to play and the rest of the roster is fairly healthy. The only question mark is Shareece Wright.
In preparing for Virginia, Carroll said his team will deal with a pro-style offense and a NFL-style 3-4 defense.
Carroll also said not knowing who'd be lining up under center for the Cavaliers isn't causing him any real worries.
"There's nothing we can do about it," Carroll said. "We just don't have much information."
One player Carroll has been impressed with is left tackle Eugene Monroe.
"He was the most perfect looking guy we saw coming out of high school," Carroll said. "He may have been 300 pounds in sixth grade. He's exactly what you're looking for at left tackle."
Carroll's own offensive line appears to be settled. Carroll said he could use an eight or nine-player rotation.
He also said all six of his running backs could play, with Joe McKnight, Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable and Allen Bradford at the top of the heap.
Carroll said he's not looking ahead to anything - not to a bowl game and not to Ohio State. That's the media's job.
"Too bad you guys can't have fun right now," Carroll said. "There's a lot of fun stuff going on without having to project."