The coach started by describing the trip to Pullman as enjoyable and was pleased with the way the team handled the challenge presented by their weather. He said that he expects this week's trip to be a similar challenge. He turned the microphone over the coach Chow who launched into the tape replays from the WSU game.
Special teams started with the kickoff recovery by Desmond Reed followed by the punt return by Reggie Bush. I can't quote Norm but let me say that he was complimentary about Reggie and the blockers who made that third TD possible. He also showed the punt return by Reed with appropriate compliments.
Coach Chow then launched into the offensive plays from Saturday. He started with Reggie's TD run which turned an inside play into an outside TD. Then the first TD run by LenDale White with the coach pointing out the blocking assignments. Following those two running plays was a series of eleven passing plays where coach Chow explained the strategy behind the pattern and the options available to Matt Leinart. Several passes were thrown directly to the primary receiver but many were also completed to the second and third options. Perhaps the most impressive was the TD to Dwayne Jarrett. Some were designed to pick up first downs and some were deeper patterns. He's got names for the passing routes like "smash" and "flood". In the middle of this lesson on passing was another running play by LenDale for a TD. Great blocking on the play with special kudos to Lee Webb. The offensive session ended with several of the late runs by Hershel Dennis and Desmond Reed.
Coach Chow can be quite humorous. He spices his comments with clever remarks that you can miss unless you listen carefully.
Pete took over for the defensive plays. We saw so many tackles for losses and sacks that it is hard to distinguish between them. Almost everyone on the Defensive line and the linebackers came in for a highlight play. The most notable was the forced fumble by Shaun Cody when Mike Patterson recovered. Domination is too subtle a word to describe what we saw. We also reviewed several pass-protection plays. Dallas Sartz looked great on a deep sideline breakup. Justine Wyatt and Jason Leach looked great breaking up a deep out along the left sideline. Finally, Terrell Thomas looked very much in control as he intercepted a long pass near the end of the game.
Several Linebackers came in for commendation, Dallas Sartz in particular. Some special plays by Matt Grootegoed, Thomas Williams, Keith Rivers and Lofa Tatupu were shown.
The Question and Answer period brought the two coaches together again. The first question for Norm was about what it would take to defeat OSU this Saturday. His facetious answer was to score one more point but he went on to describe the OSU defensive scheme and how our system could defeat it. One of the more interesting questions was about our lack of performance in stopping fake punts. Pete acknowledged the problem and explained the breakdown and the remedy. There was also a question about why we substituted so quickly in the third quarter and Pete took full responsibility with a quip that he was only trying to satisfy complaints in MMQB that we were not giving the other players quality playing time. That brought a big laugh because that in fact is what has been said to him in previous meetings.
There were questions about game preparation and practice policy on playing the first team offence against the first team defense. One of my favorite questions was why we continue to call runs into the line at the end of games when the opponents know what is coming and stack 8 or 9 in the box. I think both Norm and Pete are in denial on that tendency but let's see what happens for the rest of the season.
Questions were asked about how to defense OSU and how we would use some of our players in the future. Norm was asked about his trip to St. Louis for ideas on using Reggie Bush. Both coaches were asked about how they decide which players are featured in which plays. Norm was asked about new plays each week. Several recruiting questions were asked. Also, several questions about the progress of players that are red-shirting.
There was a question about either coach leaving the program and as Coach Chow started to answer, Coach Carroll pretended to answer an imaginary phone call from the University of Washington. Good fun and great laughs.
It was a very interesting session and a rare opportunity to see both coaches together. Actually, MMQB has evolved into a quieter group. I suggest that the reason is that the newness of winning and being #1 in the country has worn off. I still hear comments that lead me to believe that everyone knows this is a special time and that it won't last forever, but we now expect to win every game. I saw the same thing at the end of the McKay era. Pete has his strategy for keeping the team performing and maybe we need something like it for the fans.