MMQB - Washington State recap

The game against WSU last Saturday was such an overwhelming victory that most of the Trojans attending MMQB were even more upbeat about the future than ever. When the coach arrived he was greeted by another standing ovation. I can't recall the last time he was not greeted that way but we have so many streaks going now that it is hard to keep track of them all.

Coach Carroll has a persona that we see each week. I've studied his approach for several years now and my conclusion is that what we see is the real Pete Carroll. He is optimistic, enthusiastic and hungry for even better team performance. That is a profile, IMO, for continued success.

The coach referred to this weekend as tremendous and referring to our plan for individual performance he said that a lot got done. He talked in glowing terms about our ability to perform on the field and how the defensive performance had disrupted opposition strategy.

The special teams tape began with the first kick off which was obviously designed to go short with the hope of catching them off guard. The WSU player did drop the ball but we could not recover. The second kick off shown featured a classic big hit by Rey Maualuga. If you recall that one, it was very impressive. The blocked extra point by Lawrence Jackson was shown several times from both perspectives (press box & end zone). Lojack lined up to take an inside route but circled around on the outside of the tackle and leaped to make the block. Very impressive.

The defensive highlights began with a pass breakup by Justin Wyatt in the end zone. Justin covered the receiver so closely that he came down out of bounds. Another Lawrence Jackson highlight was when Lawrence broke into the backfield, caused a fumble and then recovered it.

As is his custom, Pete showed several plays where our player(s) made tackles for losses behind the line of scrimmage. Those included plays by: Josh Pinkard, Frostee Rucker, Scott Ware, Colline Ashton, Travis Tofi, Will Harris and Brian Cushing. Each one was a quality play in its own right.

We tried some new stuff on defense, such as a three-man rush and we saw several plays showing how well it worked. We also saw a couple of near pass completions where very hard hits broke the ball lose for an incompletion. One by Justin Wyatt was very good. A very athletic defensive play was shown where Darnell Bing leaped over a blocker and tackled a receiver behind the line of scrimmage.

Pete showed several highlights from the offense. Several plays demonstrated the sophistication of Matt Leinart and our offensive scheme. One showed our plan to draw the opposition offside and another showed faking audibles. There have been several reports in the press that we were successful in countering the adjustments being made by our opponents to Matt's audibles. We clearly saw Matt and the WR's making adjustments with Matt under center, then the defense reacting to those adjustments, then we would ran right at them (usually with LenDale White) with great success.

We looked at several successful completions from Matt to Dwayne Jarrett. My favorite was the sideline catch where Dwayne was fully extended out of bounds but kept his feet in the field of play. All three of his TD's were shown. Both of the TD's to Steve Smith were shown. The pass along the left sideline where Steve's fake absolutely leaves the Cougar defender running in the opposite direction was aided up by a bootleg fake in the backfield.

We also saw good completions to Dominique Byrd and Fred Davis.

The running plays were just as impressive. LenDale had the big day, and some of the huge holes he was running through were enormous. We looked at several blocking patterns. Taitusi Lutui and Fred Matua caught my eye as standouts on the plays we saw. On the play where LenDale seems to be surrounded and then breaks out of the pack, impressive blocks were made by Fred Matua and Ryan Kalil.

We looked at the 2 min. drill. A good pass to Reggie over the middle; then good passes to Dwayne. Matt was excellent and it resulted in a field goal by Mario Danelo.

Fred Matua deserves special recognition on a play where Dwayne fumbled after a completion over the middle. Fred had hustled down field looking for a blocking opportunity and was there to recover for us as a result. On the final TD run by Michael Coleman a great block to open the hole was made by Chilo Rachal.

The tape session ended with a highlight of spectacular catches by Dwyane Jarrett. The first was the sideline catch from the WSU game and all the others were from practice. Dwyane does make spectacular catches and many of them with just one hand.

The question and answer period was very informative. The first question had to do with the "tunnel incident" which Pete downplayed. His answer was similar to quotes he has given to the press. Next I asked how happy we should be about recruiting this weekend but because of Pete not wanting to be quoted from the meeting, Let me say that it was good but not conclusive in every case.

A question was asked if we had kicked those field goals just for practice but Pete seemed to indicate that game conditions dictated those decisions. One gentleman asked Pete which three books had the most to do with determining his coaching philosophy. If you thought Pete would not take such a question seriously, you would be wrong. I would say that for 4 to 5 minutes, Pete discussed the events, people and books that had made the greatest impact on his coaching style. Even if I had permission to quote him, there is no way I could recreate this answer. What I would like to point out is that it is a subject to which he has given considerable thought and knows where several of his benchmark concepts came from.

A question was asked about how much special support someone like Pinkard received for his first start. Pete talked about that support and gave several examples, both of coaching success and coaching mistakes. The usual question about injuries was asked and information was given about Byrd and Rivers. I suspect that more complete information will be forthcoming in the next 24 hours.

Pete was asked about what we should expect from Stanford. He knows the Stanford coach rather well and gave an in-depth report on what he expects to see. Apparently coach Harris has served on Pete's staff in the past. My impression from his remarks is that Stanford has some talent but probably not enough to cause of problems if we play well.

A question was asked if he knew that his coaching techniques were being copied by other coaches and he said more or less that he did not. Then a man asked about the coaching preference of catching passes with your thumbs in or your thumbs out. Pete loves this kind of question. He got a volunteer up and went through a full demonstration of both techniques and told us when each should be used. Good stuff but I would need a transcript and we all know that is not going to happen.

Pete was asked how he evaluated the replacement coaches that are new this year. He got very animated in describing the success of Jethro Franklin, Lane Kiffin, Pat Ruel, and Steve Sarkisian. He was asked about the progress of Kyle Williams and he pointed out that Kyle was playing a lot at both right and left tackle and doing very well. A similar question was asked about Rey Maualuga. Rey got rave reviews.

The meeting was adjourned. Top Stories