The Monday Morning Quarterbacks met again today for lunch with Coach Pete Carroll. He arrived with his usual high-energy persona and positive outlook. He pointed out the obvious - that we had had a good outing. He spent some time describing the great enthusiasm that came from winning a game where everyone who traveled got a chance to play. PC described what sounded like a great locker room celebration after the game.
He then introduced a special guest who walked into the room as a surprise. It was Carson Palmer who proceeded to answer questions for about 20 minutes. When asked about his constantly improving play his answer was basically "increased familiarity with the system". Apparently he did struggle with the new system at first but says, "it is all different now". Not all the questions were cream puffs either. He was asked about taking a 26 yard sack. He gave an honest response, i.e. he didn't want to give up on the play.
Asked about his favorite pass pattern, he said he "likes to go deep". He also answered questions about specific plays in the Stanford game, what his options were and several points on trick and gadget plays. He gave satisfying answers but I think it would be unwise to pass them along to ASU at this time.
Several questions probed into what was making the difference this year and Carson basically said that "team chemistry" was everything and that last year was really a "transition year". Carson is well spoken and chooses his words carefully. He has excellent presence and looks like a leader.
After he left, "to get back to his studies", the coach said he was making no predictions on the Heisman but that in his opinion there is nobody better.
The replay of selected plays from the Stanford game tape was great. We went through every TD play and several other successful runs and passes. Clearly Stanford could not handle the offense that Norm Chow threw at them. Just the offensive team highlights took several minutes. Pete concluded with the defensive gems. He did say that the lack of solid footing gave us some problems. Several backup players made very good contributions, and one example he showed was LaJuan Ramsey forcing the QB on the play where Udeze intercepted.
In the Q&A period, the coach was asked about the slow start his defense got in the first quarter and he gave the same answer I've read in several publications. Basically we had poor tackling - perhaps the extra week layoff contributed to that. In response to a question about the improving play of the OL he pointed out that we are now up to second best in conference in protecting the QB. He heaps a lot of praise on our players on both sides of the ball.
Pete was asked about our plan for ASU and what we could expect from them. He gave good answers that reflected his attitude that ASU is a powerful offensive team and deserves our full attention. A couple of questions were about penalties but in deference to his policy of not making "public" comments about officials I'll not report them. I only bring the subject up so that those who have never been to a MMQB meeting can see that no subject is "off the table" and that attendance is worth the effort.
The meeting adjourned and I think I can report without fear of contradiction that everyone was in excellent humor.