MMQB report - 10/18 meeting

Pete Carroll met with the Monday Morning Quarterbacks today in Town and Gown. The atmosphere was very upbeat and people were talking about the progress of the team. Pete asked the tongue-in-cheek question about whether this week was more fun than the Cal game. Most at my table were saying "no" but Pete took the position that close games were in fact more fun. He loves competition. I gather he thinks that ASU did not bring their A-game and so the results were greater than anticipated.

Pete Carroll met with the Monday Morning Quarterbacks today in Town and Gown. The atmosphere was very upbeat and people were talking about the progress of the team. Pete asked the tongue-in-cheek question about whether this week was more fun than the Cal game. Most at my table were saying "no" but Pete took the position that close games were in fact more fun. He loves competition. I gather he thinks that ASU did not bring their A-game and so the results were greater than anticipated.

Coach Carroll took considerable time to give us a review of the pre-game routine. Starting Thursday afternoon, continuing through Friday and Saturday morning. He said it was about focusing the players on the game. He included every step and said that he does the same plan for each game so that players will know exactly what to expect. It was an interesting insight into his coaching philosophy. Apparently there is a lot of emotion mixed into the routine. Of particular interest to me, he described how Matua and Cody got the team hyped just before the game.

We began the review of plays from the game with special teams. Coach showed several kickoffs including the two that did not go for touchbacks. On the first, Justin Tolliver streaked down the field and decimated the return man inside the 15. On the second, a whole committee of Trojans stopped the return man inside the 20. Finally we saw Ryan Killeen's kickoff that hit the goal post. The kid's obviously got a real strong leg. We looked at the blocked Field Goal by Shaun Cody.

We saw Tom Malone's best punt and he's working on a new technique to stop balls short of the goal line on short punts. The high light was Reggie Bush's punt return, which we saw over and over. Apparently we are not contesting the out-of-bounds call. For those new to MMQB reports, we see the plays from a press box view and then from an end zone view. The coach frequently reruns the play to point out key blocks or other important elements.

The defensive highlights were quit numerous. Pete was very complimentary of the play of Lofa Tatupu at LB. We saw plays where he knocked down several passes and where he made key tackles. Good tackles by Bing and Groots were also shown. The play of Eric Wright came in for special acclaim. His breakup of the slant pass and his successful blitz were special. Pete is expecting a big career for EW.

The interception by Matt Grootegoed was shown and Darnell Bing made a good block on that play. The play of Shaun Cody was prominent today. In addition to that blocked FG he had several hurries and successful sacks. Dallas Sartz was complemented on his pass protection and tackling. Other successful plays shown featured Manuel Wright, Frostee Rucker, Lawrence Jackson, and Ronald Nunn. The pass interception by Darnell Bing was covered in detail, as was a description of the pass coverage that was used.

The coach likes to show good plays by players who don't get a lot of playing time. In that regard, he showed a successful sack by LB Collin Ashton.

The offensive plays were another feast of success. First shown was the key pass from Matt Leinart to Chris McFoy. Then the TD pass to Reggie Bush where Reggie faked the DB in order to get open. That was followed by the improvised pass to Alex Holmes when he rambled up the left sideline. Several passes to LenDale White were shown - imagine the Washington defensive coordinator trying to defense all this.

All three TD passes to Dwayne Jarrett were shown (2 from Matt and 1 from Reggie). With all of this to choose from it might be hard to pick a favorite but the audience reaction to the passes to Dominique Byrd was clearly the greatest. Whatever you remember from the game, #86 was even more spectacular when you saw how many Sun Devil's bounced off him and the speed and agility he displayed. Welcome back Mr. Byrd.

The question and answer period was varied and extensive. Pete was asked which player it would be most difficult to lose. Then, if he had considered playing Byrd at FB. The question was raised about how many times we had used two TE's last Saturday (15 to 18 plays, est.) and whether we would see more of that in the future.

The coach was queried about whether pass protection was different for a left-handed QB. Next a question about the reason for our improved tackling. Then Pete was asked about out-of-state recruiting and homesickness. Then a question about field goal blocking. Then a question about whether the "lights came on" for the season at the Stanford game halftime.

In a rather humorous give and take, Pete was asked whether the performance of the coaches was also evaluated after each game. He said that the coaches evaluated each other and, with a huge grin, he said that he always received high marks. This guy is just having a lot of fun in his job.

Pete was asked what he looked for in recruiting CB's. Next why certain defensive substitutions were made on third and long situations. Finally Pete was asked what he found to say to a team up 42 to 7 at half time. He gave an answer that satisfied me as a valuable message.

The meeting was adjourned with everyone in good spirits.


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