Frequently MMQB is a microcosm of the health of the whole football program. Today was such a display. On Saturday, a 60,000 crowd was anticipated and 73,000 showed up. Today, the luncheon staff apparently prepared for 200 and more Trojans just kept arriving. They set up extra tables until the room was full, then they ran out of food and sold standing room only tickets at a reduced price. I counted at least 250 seated for lunch and several more who ringed the hall on chairs. Winning is contagious and it is producing increased attendance all around.
Pete Carroll arrived early to thunderous applause and a standing crowd of appreciative supporters. "Just keep winning" was his opening comment. He looked good and by that I mean he is not showing stress or ill effects from such a heavy schedule. The demands on his time have got to be horrendous but he is thriving and his enjoyment and relaxed approach has got to be a positive influence on our team. With our previous coach, things were so overpowering and serious to him, and his attitude made him uptight and I believe that rubbed off on the team.
Pete talked about the ASU game. He was complimentary saying that their defense had done several things very well. He said that we did not look past the Stanford and ASU games but that he has been waiting to get to this point.
The tape from the ASU game was mostly our successful highlights - long field goals and punts started. Then wwe saw several offensive plays where he described the strategy behind the pass patterns and blocking schemes. He shows each play several times from both the press box and end zone view. None of us can get enough of this. One personal observation, I cannot remember a MMQB tape review session when the Offensive Line was highlighted in such glowing terms. He showed the line opening running lanes, protecting on passes and generally whipping the opponents. On Carson's sneak into the end zone, our line just moved the ASU line in mass, back into the end zone. Very impressive.
On the defensive plays he showed most of the sacks and all the turnovers. He showed several of our successful pass coverage plays. And for balance, he showed the play that ASU used to score their TD. It is evidently a well know pattern called "curl and sucker". He did say that Wyatt, who took the sucker on that play, played a good game. He showed some of Justin's best plays so as not to leave a negative impression about his performance. And, he did mention his fine punt return later in the game.
He then got to his favorite play of the game, and this was kind of predictable because he is a fanatic about defensive football. It was the ASU sweep to the right on 4th and 1, near the end of the game, where Pollard and Allmond, backed up by several other players stuffed the play for a loss. He projects excitement and an appreciation for the physical side of the game when he talks about this kind of football.
In the Q&A part of the program, PC did his usual fine job of answering questions. Not all of them were soft balls either. Kick-off returns keeps coming up and he does his best to explain the nature of the breakdowns but you can see that he is very impatient with our inability to solve this problem. He was asked several questions about UCLA, the strengths of their team, how we will attack their defense and offense, etc., etc., etc. He gave very informative answers but I can't go into details. One exception - he was asked if he though the bye would hurt the Bruins and he said he though it would "kill them". He was laughing so hard that the whole place broke into thunderous laughter.
He was asked about recruiting and said things are developing very well. Pete Carroll excused himself from the meeting and Pete Arbogast was introduced. He told about the demands of UCLA week on everyone associated with the team. Pete also reminisced about former games and situations. I think PA is well matched with our program and you can tell that he's a Trojan and always has been. No journalistic pretense - he is a Trojan.
The meeting adjourned with a statistic in everyone's mind. It had been planted by Pete Arbogast who said, "It has been 725 days since the Bruins have scored on a Trojan football team."