MMQB report (11/17/03)

Town and Gown was full, the Coach was up, the crowd was noisy, and the mood was very positive. That's a snapshot of the Monday Morning Quarter Back luncheon meeting with the coach today. We saw so many highlight plays that it seemed like it was a compilation for the season and not just a game.

From special teams we saw the excellent kickoff return by Reggie Bush. Also a punt by Tom Malone (a rare play these last few games) with the spectacular tackle by Will Poole of the Arizona return man inside his own 5-yard line.

There is no use for me to try to recite all the offensive highlights. They included all the TD's, the long passes and the long runs. If I had to pick something out to comment on, it would be the great decision making of Matt Leinart. Pete showed many plays and described the strategy behind the pass patterns. He pointed out that Matt made the optimum choice for a receiver on each play. Probably the most unusual part of the presentation was all the plays from second and third string players. The coach gave them a lot of compliments and showed us how well they really did.

The defensive plays were also quite good. Will Poole came in for compliments on his two interceptions and a spectacular pass break-up. Other defensive players got kudos as well, but the featured plays showed Dallas Sartz doing almost everything. Dallas had tackles behind the line of scrimmage; pass coverage downfield, etc., etc. etc. PC obviously believes that Dallas has a very bright future on our team.

The Question and Answer period was long and informative. The normal questions were asked about injuries, preparation for ucla, plays that might be used and strengths and weaknesses of the Bruins. Obviously I can't give his answers but I can report that he considers this game to be very important and that we are preparing thoroughly for it.

There was a question about whether he would reconsider his previous position of not considering NFL offers and his answer could be accurately characterized as "no way". He wouldn't provide specifics about recruiting other than to say we were in on a spectacular class. He did say that we might be able to use members of the current squad to fill the "long snapper" vacancy next year - therefore not requiring us to use a scholarship for that purpose. There was a question about how he handled the academic requirements for the team and he gave a long detailed explanation of our emphasis on academic excellence. In that regard, he pointed to specific players who had, over the last couple of years, developed good work habits and were achieving excellent results.

My own observation is that Pete Carroll looks like a man who is thoroughly enjoying his job and feels confident that he has the resources to continue to be successful.

The meeting was adjourned with Pete yelling, "Beat the Bruins"!


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