MMQB recap

The final Monday Morning Quarterback luncheon for 2005 greeted coach Pete Carroll with another standing ovation, yells and whistles. He responded with great excitement and began by introducing special guest #5 Reggie Bush. Pete spoke glowingly about the game Reggie played last Saturday and about his exemplary leadership in school and on the team.

Reggie was very much at ease and took questions. He was asked about reaching out to put the ball over the goal line – the implication being that he has been coached not to do this. His answer was very straightforward – I'm trying to score. The second question could have put a damper on things and I think it came out in an unintended way. Reggie was asked why he had hit the head of the FSU player and he said it was an accident.

A woman said that she had met Reggie's mom before the game and could see why he was such a good citizen. She then asked if his mom had yet found a place for his Heisman Trophy. To which Reggie said, "not yet". There was a question about what it feels like to the Reggie Bush. He said last Saturday it felt like he could score every time he got the ball. PC commented that Reggie had had a good week of practice before the FSU game so his performance was not a surprise.

Then Reggie was asked about coming back next year and he said his focus was on the next game. A man asked about the long TD cut-back run and if he was trying to hide the ball behind his back when he stopped along the sideline. Reggie said he was just trying to make a play. When asked what it was like playing on a team with so much talent he said that competing with LenDale had made both of them better.

When asked if he could possible play better against UCLA than he had against FSU he jokingly said he would try to double it. More compliments about his family were made and a question about his little brother and if he really was faster than Reggie. Reggie did not answer that specific point but said his brother is 14 years old, is already 6-1 and is a basketball player. Next someone suggested that he come back next year and take dance classes.

Reggie was asked what the factors were in choosing to attend SC. He said PC's presentation to his parents had closed the deal. He also mentioned that the proximity to San Diego was very favorable. He was asked about the reported push on Matt Leinart in the ND game but I couldn't hear his answer. A question was, "what was the best game since you've been here?" He said Oklahoma. When asked about the UCLA game this year, he said that records don't mean anything and that we try our best.

He was asked when he learned to run laterally but Pete jumped in and humorously tried to take credit for teaching that to Reggie. The next question was hard to hear. It was about competing and the team. Whatever the question was, Reggie answered that with PC the team is everything, play for all 4 quarters, treat your teammates as brothers, and enjoy the fun atmosphere. PC injected comments about what it was like for the team in the pre-game activities using words like craziness and energizing.

Reggie was asked what it was like in the huddle during the ND game and he said that nobody was down. He was asked about recruiting replacement backs but PC jumped in and said that by NCAA rule we can't discuss names. He did give some information that we are looking for 3 guys but no names. Reggie then left the meeting to great applause.

Pete talked briefly about the pressure on several of our players and how well they have handled it.

The taped review of plays began with special teams. The first play was an excellent punt return by Reggie. The second was a field goal by Mario Danelo who is leading the Pac10 in FG percentage.

The offensive plays were like a Reggie Bush highlight tape. It began with the toss-run to the right where Reggie went 55 yards. It was interesting to observe that Reggie takes only two strides every 5 yards. That play was followed by LenDale's 5-yard TD. In the coarse of these highlights we probably saw another dozen plays of Reggie's. Sweeps left and right, and passes on delays out of the backfield were spectacular. No one at our table could come up with any Trojan runner ever having had a better day. What can you say that accurately describes a once-in-a-lifetime player after his best game.

We looked at several passes from Matt. First one to Steve Smith for a first down. Next completions to Fred Davis, Dwayne Jarrett (several times). Each play had a story and strategy behind its success.

One of Reggie's runs was a tackle-trap with Winston Justice pulling and blocking to clear a hole on the left side of the line. I thought it was very impressive.

On the pass that Matt completed to Reggie along the left sideline, Matt had called an audible that put Reggie on a LB. Huge gain resulted.

We looked at both of LenDale's TD's. He definitely gave a great second effort on the one that was reviewed and subsequently called a TD.

The defensive plays were surprisingly good. I say that because at our table we had been discussing the fact that FSU had scored so many points on us, but there were several great defensive plays and we reviewed each. Several featured Josh Pinkard. He got burned early but recovered to make several great defensive plays. We looked at the very good play by Justin Wyatt where he knocked down the pass behind their line of scrimmage with a very quick charge at the receiver.

Interceptions – we saw all four. Ting, Ware, and both by Bing. Each one was instrumental in winning the game.

We looked at some early success in stopping runs and wished that that success had continued throughout the game. One play that stood out was the pass that was batted by Ellis. Another mystery was cleared up when we found out that the Ashton take-away was not reviewed because the whistle had blown and therefore it was not reviewable.

The Q & A period was really very good and thorough. At the end Pete asked if anyone had been trying to ask a question all year and was unable to ask it. He stayed until they were all answered. The first question was asked by Pete Arbogast and it was basically "what kind of a team is the 2005 team". Pete gave a thoughtful answer that basically showed his affection for these players and his confidence in their ability.

When asked to comment on UCLA, Pete did so and was complimentary of their success this season. There were some questions about potential early NFL players. Pete gave a rundown of those juniors that might turn pro and discussed the pros and cons for each player. There were questions about changing the practice routine since we have two weeks between games and Pete said that the routine would be basically the same. Then he listed some changes but, as you know, I can't quote him directly.

The injury question was asked. He listed those with knee, shoulder and hamstring issues but I didn't hear anything different from the information we have received from Garry. Pete was asked what FSU did differently that made their offense better than other teams we have played. His answer was thorough and in the end I think the most prominent point was that FSU had a short field caused by long kick returns.

I asked Pete about the pros and cons of punting out-of-bounds and was surprised to find out that we had called that play but that it not been successfully executed. Pete was asked about going for 2 points and he described his philosophy that basically comes down to waiting until the 4th quarter for that decision. When asked about our strategy against UCLA he said he would not answer at this time.

Pete was asked about some players who had been highly recruited but had not yet contributed and he gave an answer for each that was basically that they still had a chance to play a big role in our program.

Pete thanked everyone for their contributions to the success of MMQB and went back to work. Top Stories