Trojan coach Pete Carroll met today with the Monday Morning Quarter Back luncheon on campus at Town and Gown. They set up extra tables on the edges and in the corners, filling them all. The coach arrived to a standing and cheering group who wanted him to know their true feeling about the rout at ND.
Pete got right into an analysis of what happened. It was a careful but animated description of dominance on the field but tempered with recognition that we must still continue to improve. He enjoys the give and take of these meetings and he enjoys showing his successful "work product" to a group that thoroughly appreciates it. Pete knows that it was more than just a normal game.
The coach showed many plays on the big screen from both a press box view and an end zone view. The emphasis today was to document for all of us, the progress made by our QB Matt Leinart. He showed several of the plays where Matt made optimum "reads" and others where he had to hit the receiver perfectly. Matt's performance on Saturday was great and Pete made the most of it today.
The coach also spent several plays showing the success of Reggie Bush. Both runs and passes were included. He reminded us of some plays from the Stanford game where Reggie was open and said that what we saw at ND was building on the same play-series.
PC also showed several pass patterns by Keary Colbert and Mike Williams. He reminded us of those same patterns from the previous week and highlighted the variations that had been instituted for the ND game. If this all sounds like a clinic in the SC offense, well that is what it was and it is why I continue to look forward to the meetings each Monday.
The defensive plays were also great. He explained the adjustments made after the first Quarter and how they impacted performance on the field. He did talk about some defensive shortcomings and how particular players could improve. I can't go into that, but he is well aware that improvements can be made. PC was very complimentary of linebacker Lofa Tatupu, as well as Kenechi Udeze, Mike Patterson, Omar Nazel and Dallas Sartz. Omar got kudos for playing hurt. Almost every defensive player got at least one highlight play.
Of particular note during the opening plays of the special teams was the "punt rush" of Reggie Bush. The tape clearly shows Reggie blowing around the blocker and challenging the punter. He looks so fast that I am wondering how Washington is going to compensate.
The questions and answer period was punctuated with effusive compliments. Pete always says thanks but does not dwell on those moments. A large percentage of questions today were of the "why didn't we" variety. One lady was critical because we didn't turn John Booty lose with some long pass opportunities. The coach gave a reasoned response based on "good sportsmanship" etc., at which point she broke in again and said that 52 points would have been better than 45. Pete just smiled and walked across the room to give her a "high five".
The coach did say that we would be practicing for rainy weather this week and pointed out side to a 90-degree sunny day and said, "that doesn't help". No questions today on recruiting. Several times during the presentation Coach Chow was complimented by PC for a play or a play call. During Q&A there were comments that complimented NC and questions about how are we going to keep him. Pete answered those to my satisfaction.
The meeting was adjourned with everyone I could see in a happy mood.