It's great to be laughing on Monday isn't it. Coach Pete Carroll said that today to over 200 assembled at the Monday Morning Quarterback's luncheon. Since I can't quote him, it was something very close to that. Those sentiments reflected the mood of an overflow crowd who, with PC, celebrated the team's fine performance against Oregon.
Many commentators have talked about us turning the corner with our program and I think the crowd today felt that we in fact have done that. Pete's demeanor gave another indication that once again "life is good". He is loose and jovial. He is enjoying our success and it shows.
As for maintaining momentum, the coach said all the right things about not letting the bye week slow us down. He personally took on the responsibility for keeping the team up for Stanford and said that they had earned a reputation for winning games when they were not given a chance. Several questions were raised that communicated a fear that we would let down but he gave assurances that he understood the situation and had plans to make sure that we did not lose focus.
The tape for special teams showed our good kick-off return at the beginning of the game. He also showed the long field goal that Killeen made. As for the breakdowns, during the Q&A period he said they played better than we did in this part of the game. Now that I write that, it sound simplistic, but in thinking back on the examples he gave, it was absolutely accurate. We are not executing well on kickoffs and he is just as aware of that as we are.
The offensive plays went on forever - and he just showed the high lights. The crack back blocks by Mattos were spectacular. The long passes and the short passes were spectacular. Justin's TD run was spectacular. Several more were shown turning the visuals into kind of an orgy for those of us who have starved for just this kind of success. He did challenge the audience on one point. He asked whether they agreed with his decision to play the back-ups rather than run up the score. For those who disagreed with his decision he said something like "tough" and that he was going to continue to do the right thing.
Actually his language was much more colorful than that.
On defense, he showed several plays with Grootegoed featured in many. Both interceptions were shown as well as the sacks. He showed a play where we anticipated that a particular Oregon personnel package would run a particular play; when it happened, we adjusted, and stuffed it for a loss. He was complimentary toward Allmond for breaking up the potential TD pass in the end zone and said that what Marcell had done was very difficult.
Because of the bye coming up, he was not rushed for time so the Q&A went on for dozens of questions. I think the most interesting information that I can characterize from several answers refered to our offensive strategy. It boils down to we take what they give. It they lay off with their DB's, we throw short. When they come up, we throw long. If they load the field with speed, we run. Everybody who follows the game knows all that but his answers were responsive to several questions that were asked. I'd love to give the full Q&A but, as you know, I can't. Suffice it to say that nearly every subject raised on the WeAreSC message boards was raised with Pete Carroll today. He gave good answers that were full of information unavailable to the average fan in any other forum.
In case you are considering coming to the next MMQB, you should know that it will be in two weeks.