Williams didn't catch a scoring pass, which is not to say he wasn't responsible for a touchdown. Norm Chow, USC's celebrated offensive coordinator, called a superb game. With the Wolverines crowding the box, Chow sliced and diced their secondary with pass after pass. On second and goal from the Michigan 15 late in the third quarter, Chow said to Carroll, "Let's go with the reverse pass." Though it hadn't worked all week in practice, Carroll responded with his trademark enthusiasm: "That's an awesome call! Let's go for it."
"Trips right, 18 toss, reverse quarterback throwback," said Leinart, smiling as he broke the huddle. He pitched to tailback Hershel Dennis, who headed right before handing off to Williams coming the other way. A southpaw like Leinart, Williams lofted a pass to his quarterback, who was by then alone in the left flat. Receiver led quarterback nicely, and Leinart's touchdown reception all but assured the Trojans their ninth national title, the first in a quarter century.
Chow wasn't the only USC coordinator who called a hell of a game. Carroll, who runs his own defense, had quite a bit to do with his unit's nine sacks. Sometimes, Wild Bunch II members such as Udeze (three sacks) got pressure on Navarre by beating the man in front of them. Other times, sacks resulted from well-timed blitz calls, such as the rare and exotic Double Cat, in which both corners fly at the quarterback.
Striding into a Beverly Hills hotel bar last Thursday night, Carroll shared an embrace with wiry, white-haired Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. The two go back 27 years, to when Kiffin was the defensive coordinator at Arkansas and Carroll was his savantlike graduate assistant, soaking up details of his mentor's attacking 4-3 defense—a system Carroll has made his own. As they stood at the bar, Kiffin congratulated his long-ago prot�g� on his more inspired blitzes, one in particular.
"The Double Cat was out of the bag!" Carroll cracked. The cat is out of the bag: While he may have been fired by two NFL teams, Carroll, it turns out, is an inspired coach presiding over a nascent dynasty. Don't be surprised to see his Trojans playing for the national title again a year from now. Next time, they might not be so willing to share.