MMQB report

The main subject for the Monday Morning Quarterback meeting was to review the game against Arizona last Saturday. But, just like the team on Saturday, people seemed to be distracted by N.D. and the obvious attraction of that contest. Coach Pete Carroll was upbeat and on point for a full house luncheon crowd. But, for the first time this year, there was more conversation about the coming game than the last one.

Pete was positive about our performance against Arizona while at the same time; he talked about areas where we need work. The crowd wanted to hear a little Notre Dame week pep talk and, if you didn't know it, Pete can talk a little smack with the best of them. Bulletin board type stuff. But you wont her it from me. Before Pete arrived, they announced again that he was not to be quoted so I'll continue to use Newspaper quotes when they reflect what he said today.

Pete did give accolades to Arizona's punter and the adjustments shown in their game plan. He believes that the mistakes from our early games have educated our recent opponents. In discussing our performance, Pete was very proud of our demonstrated ability to run the ball. And with satisfaction he pointed out that we are the leading running offense in the nation.

We began the tape review by looking at special team plays. The first was the high punt from Tom Malone that William Buchanon caught on the Arizona 5-yard line. That is very hard to do and represents a lot of practice. Next we looked at the great Kickoff coverage where the Arizona return man hesitated and was tackled inside the 10-yard line. Even though it ended well for us, it was clear from that coverage that there were breakdowns in players not staying in their lanes. Finally, we looked at the total breakdown and Arizona's long return. We simply were not good on this part of the game. Look for the return of some of the more experienced players – Like Lua and Williams - to this unit for the next game.

On defense there were many highlights by Oscar Lua. He's really is becoming important to our success. Frostee Rucker continues to excel as well. Some excellent tackles by John Walker were shown. In somewhat of a change of pace, we looked at the coverage breakdown by Justin Wyatt that resulted in a completion for a TD. It clearly shows Justin biting on a fake and letting the receiver get behind him. That used to happen all the time before Pete became our coach so I am unfortunately familiar with the play.

On one play, Lawrence Jackson so manhandled his man that I'm now convinced that number 96 is a much stronger player than I had realized. The tackle for loss made by Darnell Bing was improvised at the time and not a called blitz. The excellent tackle for loss by Sedrick Ellis was shown – he's very quick. Jeff Schweiger made an impact with two tackles while he was in the game – a good sign for the future. On the 4th and goal play by Arizona late in the game, it clearly shows Collin Ashton deflecting the ball and Ryan Ting winning a fight for the ball to make the interception.

On offense we saw a lot of plays. All of the LenDale White TD's were shown. The OL blocking was superb. LenDale also showed some moves in the open field. My favorite run was where LenDale leaped over a wildcat at the line of scrimmage and continued on for several yards. Most of Reggie Bush's runs were shown and again the blocking was excellent. Among those who have improved their blocking skills noticeably is Fred Davis. He was at the point of attack several time on these successful running plays.

The passing highlights are always great to see. Several passes to Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith were shown. On the TD to Jarrett on the crossing route, Matt Leinart clearly improvised that rollout because the original pattern wasn't there. On the completion to Turner it was clear that if he had not stopped but continued running when Arizona blew the coverage, it would have been a TD.

The Question and Answer period was very informative. We will be taking 76 players to N.D. Pete was asked why Arizona was successful and Pete made several points, which basically explained that Stoops is a good coach and went to school on our previous games. Apparently Ramsey is OK, Will Harris is not, McCurtis is getting close, and Thomas looks promising.

There were several questions about using LenDale and Reggie in the same backfield. Pete pointed out that we already do that some but he also explained the strategy we follow in that regard. A question was asked about comments attributed to Coach Weiss. Pete was complementary to Weiss and the improvements he has made in his team.

A lady who has been a consistent questioner in prior years on the subject of special teams breakdowns, asked a long question that sounded critical in tone, although I was across the room so I can't be sure. She ended by asking "who was coaching special teams?" Pete gave a complete answer and named all the coaches and each special team for which they had responsibility. Welcome back "special teams lady".

Pete was asked about what he expected from coach Weis. His answer was very complete and included these thoughts reported by the Daily News: "They're just doing better stuff," he said. "Everything they do is better for the quarterback. They have a nice wide-open attack. It's really good stuff and different than college stuff. He's got his mark all over it. There's a nice little ring to it because of his NFL background."

Sorry I could not include more newspaper quotes in this report but those quote are mostly about Arizona and apparently everyone has already moved on the ND.

The meeting adjourned at about 1:30.


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