Rotoworld's Evan Silva emailed me the other day with a link to one of Greg Cosell and Doug Farrar's Shutdown Corner podcasts from last season (prior to Week 13), in which Cosell shared an interesting anecdote about Marc Trestman, now the Bears Head Coach and formerly the NC State Offensive Coordinator. You may or may not have seen/heard this at the time, but I thought it was an interesting little tidbit, particularly because at the time you'd probably never heard of Trestman. Since then, obviously, he has been hired as the Head Coach of one of the most storied franchises in NFL history.
It's funny - Marc Trestman, you know that name I'm sure? [to Farrar] He's a very good friend of mine and I got a chance to see him on Monday - he coaches the Montreal Alouettes, and he's done a great, great job up there in five years, and he was flying home to Raleigh where he still has a home, from when he coached at North Carolina State - and he stopped in at films, and he was the one who recruited Russell Wilson.
We got into this great conversation, and he said to me - "I knew, sitting in Russell Wilson's living room, talking to him, that he was going to be an NFL quarterback when he was 18 years old." He said, "This kid was so advanced, in his understanding of just everything, not just football - but life, his world view - this kid was so special in all those areas, that I looked at the kid and knew he was 5'10 but I knew he was going to be an NFL quarterback."
This mirrors a bit of what was said in a story last season from the Toronto Sun. The Sun's Steve Simmons wrote:
Trestman was a coach at North Carolina State when, one day, the baseball coach Elliott Avent walked over during their off-season workouts and introduced him to a teenage infielder to whom they had just given a scholarship.
"He wants to play baseball and football," Avent said.
"If he's good enough to play both, we'll do it," said the head football coach, Chuck Amato, not necessarily believing it was going to be possible.
So Trestman walked the infielder out to the football field, uncertain as to what to expect. He had done this so many times before. Just never like this one.
"That day, watching an 18-year-old, having never seen him in a game, I would have projected Russell as a fourth-round NFL pick. Right away. That's before he'd ever played a game in college football. I was that confident of his ability, just because of what he showed me.
"Sometimes you never know how a player is going to convert to game speed. You can look at a high school tape. Russell hadn't played against the most dynamic of opposition. It wasn't like he played high school ball in Texas or Florida.
"But there was something about him from the time I first met him. Something hard to define. He had that something in his demeanour and his personality and his charisma, an intelligence and self-confidence you don't see in an 18-year-old. The easy thing to determine is relative arm strength - he had that. The rest is the hard part. And we know what's happened since."
One interesting thing about the Cosell - Trestman story was that it came up a few days before what many consider to be Russell Wilson's, and by extension, the Seahawks' turning point in the season - their Week 13 win over what would become Trestman's team: the Chicago Bears. You'll remember that Wilson showed crazy poise under pressure late - both in the 4th quarter and the improbable overtime, and also that the Hawks broke out the Read Option in earnest for the first time. This anecdote came up a few days before Pete Carroll admittedly 'let Wilson loose' in their offense.
Anyway - here are a couple of Russell Wilson interviews from his senior year of High School - both during the season and directly after it - and they might give you an idea of what Trestman saw in the precocious-yet-diminutive player out of Collegiate High School in Richmond Virginia.