St. Paul head coach Elijah Asante and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll are friends. It’s a friendship which dates back to Carroll’s days as USC’s head coach.
When Carroll took over in Seattle, he extended an invitation to Asante to visit the Pacific Northwest. The high school coach took him up on the offer serving as an intern during the Seahawks’ most recent minicamp.
“That trip went really well,” Asante said. “I had a great time up there. It was a grind. It was a daily grind.”
Asante saw firsthand the rigors of being a coach in the NFL. The days started at 6 a.m. and lasted until 9 p.m. Any time not spent on the field was usually spent in some type of meeting — team, position, coaches etc. — complete with tons of film study.
“It’s very much a mental game,” said Asante describing his experience. “I’d say it was four to one mental to physical.”
Despite the long, often times tedious days, Asante received exactly what he hoped for — things to implement in building St. Paul into what he hopes will be a formidable power in the CIF Southern Section as he enters his first season as head coach.
“The preparation is what I’m emulating,” Asante said. “It’s an unbelievable level of preparation. You just can’t understand anybody putting that amount of energy, and they get paid a lot of money to do it, but it’s still a lot of time. It don’t stop. Grind, grind, grind … ”
Asante grinded the majority of his time during the three-day minicamp with the Seahawks’ quarterbacks — Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn, Russell Wilson, and former Taft star Josh Portis. Asante also was able to spend some time on the defensive side of the ball.
He saw the ins and outs of the organization being able to spend time with Carroll, who has joint duties as the Seahawks’ head coach and executive vice president of football operations. The “complete access” Asante was given further emphasized the level of accountability that comes with being the leader of a program — regardless of level.
“If anybody is not doing their job, it still all comes down to me being accountable because my name is on it,” Asante said. “I’m the head coach. To take this thing serious, you have to go all out. Part of me taking it serious is I had to go fly up to Seattle and see how a master does it … take that information and bring it back and get the results that I need to get.”
Asante received plenty of information and more during his four-day trip to Seattle. One of the many perks of hanging around an NFL facility is the food, which Asante couldn’t get enough of.
“I eat all day long and they got the best food,” Asante said. “It’s like going to one of the best restaurants and you order and they don’t come to get the check.”
The meals were on the house. The brain food was compliments of Carroll and the Seahawks as well.