MMQB recap - 9/20 meeting

Another near capacity crowd for the Monday Morning Quarter Back meeting with Coach Carroll today. Additional tables were set and Trojan spirits were very high. It is now Pac10 time.

The coach was in very good form today. His presentation was a mixture of humor and information. Pete is definitely at the top of his game. He knows those who attend are family and he treats us with inside information on what happened and how game decisions were made. He called our performance at BYU a solid game and in particular he appeared to be very pleased with the OL play. Pete's take on the team seems to be that we are growing with experience.

He showed us many plays from the BYU game on tape. Special Teams started the show and although we only had one TD return in the game he showed it. As in the CSU game, Reggie Bush had a great running lane cleared for him and was tackled by their kicker just short of the 40-yard line. Punt coverage was also quite good.

The offensive high lights featured our top plays including all the TD's. Early in the game we seemed to concentrate on quick passes. The coach showed plays where Matt Leinart patiently waited for receivers to get open or in some instances checked off to an alternative receiver. This process requires good pass protection and we saw a lot of that. One of the qualities that distinguish our play (from our less successful teams of the last decade) is good down field blocking. Both WR's, Smith and McFoy were very prevalent on the plays showing blocks that made the plays successful.

The running plays were also very good. Reggie's long TD and LenDale's long TD were both displays of several players beating their man handily. On those plays, the OL was particularly outstanding. Some of John Drake's blocks were total mismatches but every lineman had big plays. The quarter back sneak TD by Matt was very impressive with our OL just blowing the BYU defenders back into their end zone in mass.

The 4th quarter plays with our backup personnel looked just as good. The pass to David Kirtman, the TD run by Lee Webb were both very well executed.

Pete has a little added spark when he talks about the defensive high lights. He showed plays with outstanding performances by several on the DL. Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson were involved in several of them. Some of the best plays were made by Matt Grootegoed at LB. Matt's sure tackles and quick reactions continually caught BYU ball carriers with little or no gain.

He did show a couple of plays where we received questionable penalties. While I can't quote the coach, let me say that my interpretation of his remarks was that they were so borderline that they should not have been called.

The Question and Answer period was lively and full of good humor. Pete took questions for several minutes about all facets of the BYU game and our upcoming game with Stanford. I can't quote Pete but I can tell you that his injection of humor into the give-and-take make this part of the program very entertaining. There are usually generic questions about who will start next game. They are asked about several positions and Pete's basic answer is essentially that we'll see what happens in practice this week. He has been very consistent for the last three years that performance in practice is the way to more playing time.

As for the mood of the crowd who attend MMQB, I can say that it too is evolving. Some of us old timers remember the John McKay era and being #1 in the country week after week. But the intervening years have dulled my memory about how we handled that spotlight back then. Nobody I talked to expects anything but win after win this year. Going to BYU and winning by 32 points was taken by most as "what we expected". We all know that bad things can happen even to good teams, but I didn't find anyone who expected us to trip up this season. It is a very high "expectation" bar the coach has set.

MMQB adjourned at 1:00 PM with about 75% of those in attendance indicating that they were going to Stanford this weekend.


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