MMQB recap

Coach Pete Carroll arrived early today to the Monday Morning Quarterback luncheon. He was greeted with a standing ovation and began his remarks with his usual enthusiasm. Immediately he announced that we had a guest from the team in the person of Dwayne Jarrett and that he would take questions. Dwayne was all smiles and presented himself very well as an outgoing person at ease with coach Carroll and the situation.

He was asked what he said to out of state recruits about playing at SC. He said that he tells them about the love in this family, about how good it is to play for coach Carroll and points to Brian Cushing as another example of how good things can be at SC. Dwayne was asked, in a humorous way, if he ever used two hands to make catches. He responded in a humorous way by saying "no". He added something but the laughter was so great that I didn't catch it. There was a lot of give and take with Pete showing that they are completely comfortable around each other.

Dwayne was asked about the end-around he ran in an earlier game where he was trapped far behind the line of scrimmage and managed to escape with only a 2-yard loss. He talked about what he was trying to do and that he always tries's to play to his ability. The next question was about what was on his mind at ND on the 4th and 9 pass. He talked about "one of the biggest catches of my life" and that we were not going to lose that game. Looking at Pete, with a big smile on his face, he said that he did what he was coached to do.

When asked about blocking he said he wanted to be an all around player and wanted to excel in anything he was asked to do. Dwayne was asked about his own recruiting process and he explained that coach Kiffin had made a good impression and then coach Carroll had sold him and he didn't want to play for any other team.

There was a question, asked in a humorous way, about why his "roommate" (Matt Leinart) called his number on so many audibles. With very good humor he denied that being a roommate played much of a role and that Matt was a great QB. Dwayne turned the microphone back to Pete who then gave us a play-by-play of the very strong role Dwayne's mother had played in those early days at SC.

PC talked briefly about what an interesting week of practice we had before the Cal game and added that our desire at the game was beautiful. And then, surprise-surprise, Pete introduced Matt Leinart who took questions. First question was facetious and asked weather Matt was on campus for a class. The answer was basically, no. Everyone was having fun and another facetious question was asked about using a ballroom dance move to score at ND. It was later followed by another humorous question about whether he would have scored at ND is he had not received a push from Reggie. All of this back-and-forth was quick with Pete interjecting teasing comments and Matt fielding both the question and Pete's comments with great stage presents. A very good show!

Finally a semi-serious question about whether he received any static for running so much. He conceded that he was in fact running more this year, but before he could say more, Pete indicated, yes. Matt was asked if he had been in touch with Carson Palmer. Matt gave several kudos to Carson and said they talked most every week. Our QB was then asked how long the bad affects from the hit at ASU had lasted. Matt explained that the problem was caused because the impact was from the ASU player's facemask and therefore his own facemask did not protect him. He admitted that it had an adverse impact for the rest of the game and at least another couple of days.

Asked if he saw a difference in the atmosphere in the Coliseum since his first game 5 years ago, he said he saw a very big difference and that fan support kept the team going. Matt was asked about his blocking in recent games and he answered that the hit from LenDale was harder than any he had received blocking. He said that he blocked because he wants to make things happen.

The question of audibles came up. Matt said that he does have a lot of freedom but that he follows the game plan and gave credit for the success on these plays to preparation and our great players. A couple of times people prefaced their questions with "Thank You remarks" for a great career and staying for his final year. This is a subjective judgment on my part, but I think Matt sincerely appreciated those remarks.

When asked about what advice he was giving Reggie about staying for his final year Matt gave a review of the factors he had considered and said that Reggie was a smart person and would make up his own mind. My guess from his remarks is that he thinks staying has more to offer.

Matt was asked if the new coaches were different from former coach Chow. He said that they were in some ways but gave a lot of credit to coach Chow. He did say that the players identified positively with the youth of the new coaches. Matt turned the microphone over to Pete.

PC then proceeded to talk about how great it was to get a win at Cal and expressed a positive analysis of the Cal team. He talked about what they did well as a team and gave some inside about his conversation with coach Tedford.

Coach then turned to the coming game with FSU. The quotes you have read about FSU likely being the best team we are scheduled to face this year were expressed again. As for the potential issue of why we had to schedule such a good team at this time he basically said that you have to play good teams in order to improve.

For the taped analysis of the game, we began with special teams. The first was a placement punt from Tom Malone that was downed by Kaluka Maiava on the 10-yard line. Then we looked at Cal's attempt at the short pop-up kickoff and the aggressive and positive catch by Patrick Turner.

The offensive plays were wonderful as usual. We reviewed completed passes from Matt Leinart to Dwayne Jarrett, and Steve Smith. Then the TD run by LenDale White. I was surprised to see that Kayle Williams was inserted on that play at TE. That gave us Williams, Baker and Davis, just behind them in the backfield, as blockers at the point of attack. The reverse to Chris McFoy was successful but could have gone all the way if it were not for one missed block.

The next play was a TD run by Matt, then a fake reverse and pass to Dwayne and then another TD run by Matt. All of these have their elements for complimentary remarks. We were in fact dominating this game.

We looked at Reggie's very impressive wide run on the right side, with an excellent block by McFoy. Unfortunately Dwayne was called for holding on that play but it looked like a very close call. We saw a completed pass from Matt to LenDale where Matt ran out of the pocket, up the middle, then sprinted to the left finally finding LenDale wide open. Very tough to defend.

We finished the offensive series with several impressive runs by LenDale. Some to the right and some to the left. We did see the head butt and it was egregious IMO. On the final TD run by LenDale, a key block was made by McFoy.

Pete really got into the defensive series. The first was the int by Darnell Bing – great play. Then several plays where Cal was tackled for a loss. Each has its own story but the principal tacklers were: Rey Maualuga, Justin Wyatt, Frostee Rucker, Rey again and Darnell Bing.

Brian Cushing was in on several good plays including a near sack. Cal again this year used, from time to time, an unbalanced line, but, this time, it did not work. We looked at the tipped pass by Josh Pinkard that resulted in Rey's interception. There were several great hits by our DL's including one by Frostee, Lawrence Jackson and a crushing one on Ayoob by LaJuan Ramsey.

We reviewed the goal line stand in which Cal failed to score. Jackson tackled Ayoob on a QB draw. On third down, Ayoob was tackled on a scramble by Rey again. It was a remarkable play because as Ayoob breaks free of the rush and goes into the flat, Rey is 5 yards deep in the end zone on pass coverage. He sprints right at Ayoob and leaps at his feet and tackles him for a loss at the eleven. A very spectacular play in my book. Finally, the interception by Ryan Ting on 4th down. It is called domination.

Jeff Schweiger made another spectacular play. He tackled the Cal runner from behind and ripped the ball loose for a fumble.

The Q&A with Pete Carroll was a little different in tone today. The frivolity of the sessions with Dwayne and Matt had set a less serious tone. So much of what was said is specific to unique questions and tongue-in-cheek answers that I can't provide much content. Pete did indicate that he knows nothing yet about the Texas team. He continued to give positive reports about our prospects in recruiting but, as you know, he is prohibited by NCAA rule from mentioning recruits by name.

I gather from his remarks that he does not expect Thomas Williams to play against FSU. To a question about the value of crowd support Pete was very specific about its great value.

As if the visits by Dwayne and Matt were not enough, Pete then introduced in glowing terms, Tim Floyd our new basketball coach. Coach Floyd was just as funny as the rest of the program. Intermingled with his humor was a serious message about his plan to make us a great basketball program. He talked about the extra lead-time needed in that sport and the depleted roster that greeted him upon his arrival. He said that the new building would be a great aid in boosting the program. It was my first exposure to our new coach and I came away with a very positive impression.


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