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Experience overrated, according to Seattle coach Carroll

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll looks on during their NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football practice in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Janua
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll looks on during their NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football practice in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Janua

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the build-up to Sunday's Super Bowl really kicked into motion on Wednesday with his players stepping up their preparation for the title clash against the Denver Broncos.

With their travel from the Pacific Northwest, acclimatization to surroundings and Media Day distractions out of the way, Carroll said his young, physical squad was now raring to go.

"This is a normal week for us now," Carroll told reporters.

"It's officially a ‘Competition Wednesday' for us, which means we're battling in practice today. Today is really about getting back to our football and getting right.

"That means that we want speed and tempo, the technique, all of the fundamental stuff that we emphasize on this day is at hand - no different than any other week that we've played."

The formula has worked for the Seahawks, the second youngest team, by average age, to reach the Super Bowl. They finished the regular season at 13-3, the same as Denver.

"It's a huge day to us. We have objectives and we'll be keeping score all day long today - somebody's going to win and somebody's going to lose," he said.

"I'm hoping that we'll have a very upbeat, very high-energy day at practice today.".

Carroll hand-picked his team and molded the individual talent into a ball-control offense and ferocious defense, led by Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

Only four players - defensive linemen Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant, center Max Unger and punter Jon Ryan - played for Seattle before Carroll's arrival four years ago.

No Seahawks player has previously played in a Super Bowl, while Denver's more experienced squad includes two players, quarterback Peyton Manning and receiver Wes Welker, making their third appearances.

"Well, in college we never had any guys that had more than four years playing. That's kind of where we are right now," said Carroll, who is coaching in his first Super Bowl but won two college championships at University of Southern California.

"There's a big emphasis about the Super Bowl experience and all of that, but I don't think it's that big of a deal," he added.

"I think we're going to go play football the way we play, and we'll find out.

"Hopefully we'll demonstrate that we can handle this game, and we can handle the matchups, and the lights, and the cameras, and all of that kind of stuff, and play good football."

Carroll said he has called on linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr, the son of the late heavyweight boxer with the same name, to explain what it takes to win the big game.

Norton is the only player to have won three successive Super Bowl titles, winning with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1992 and 1993 seasons then with the San Francisco 49ers.

"He's always been a guy that's been a resource to us as we've tried to understand what it takes to be a championship program, when we were back at SC (University of Southern California) and here too," Carroll said.

"He's a very unique coach and a unique individual that meant a lot to those teams.

"He was right in the middle of all of it that was happening. He's always been a great resource for us."

(Editing by Julian Linden)

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