Here's what Washington coach Chris Petersen told reporters after the Huskies' 10th practice of the spring on Tuesday morning.
(On Danny Shelton catching a TD pass during a competition drill, and a joking question about whether he might get more reps at WR) “He might. We earn all of our reps around here so we might see a few more of those. We just like to compete, and sometimes there’s silly games, but sometimes the most silly games are where they have the most fun and go hardest.”
(He’d be tough to tackle) “There’s no question about that. If he can get the ball in his hands, it’s going to take a few guys to drag him down. It might only be about a two-and-a-half yard game, but there’s going to be a few guys dragging him down for two-and-a-half yards.”
(On importance of strength coach Tim Socha) “Everybody in this program truly matters. I don’t care what your role is, that’s why you’re here. It really matters. We need to be the best that we can find at your role. But with that being said, I think there’s no more important position than the strength and conditioning coach in college football. I think that says right there probably how much trust I have in him, the job that he does. They’re around our kids more. They’re involved with certainly speed, agility, getting bigger, stronger. But so much of it has to do with really a lot more than that. Discipline and how we’re going to do things. Toughness, tie it into the training room, and the nutrition part of things. So it’s as key of a position as we have.”
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(Has that role changed in recent years?) “It’s definitely changed. I’m not sure if just the up-tempo has been the cause of it or not. But there’s no question it’s changed. I’ve really felt this for a handful of years, but I think most people feel that nowadays.”
(More on Socha) “Like anything, time equals trust and going through battles and being on the same page philosophically. But from the start, from when we hired him, we were really on the same page. And then over the years we’ve become more on the same page. We believe the same things. He’s really, really a smart guy. He can figure things out. We don’t stay the same ever. We don’t do things just to do things. There’s always a rhyme and a reason, and so all those things I really appreciate.”
(On Shaq Thompson) “To tell you the truth, I knew about him in high school but I didn’t spend that much time studying him and researching him, because at the end of the day, Boise wasn’t one of the places he was going to do. So we figured that thing out early on and kind of moved on. Knew about him, certainly when we played against him, studied him on tape there. But really I’m still learning about him. If I had to say one thing, what I know right now, he’s just a very good football player. You put him on offense, you put him on D, you put him as a kick returner. He can just do a lot of things very well. I like coming out here to see him get a run and see him make a play on defense and pull the ball out. That’s interesting, that’s intriguing. He’s one of the guys I’m real anxious to go play a real game with, to see that show up, because he does so many good things out here, but I want to see it in a game.”
(On using players both ways) “We have done that with a handful of kids over the years. It’s a little bit tougher in college football because the schemes get so complex, so we can usually have a package for a guy. But we’ve done it in the secondary, we’ve done it at tight end, we’ve done it at running back. We’ve done it at our linebackers, the fullback type guys. So we have done it. At the end of the day, we have to get our best personnel on the field. We want to use as many guys, but if truly we have a guy that can give us something on either side of the ball, we’ve got to somehow get that done.”
(On Northwestern unionization issue) “You’re dragging me into complicated things (laughs). … I don’t have a super strong opinion, other than if that happened, I know it would change everything, and I’m not sure if that’s for the better. That’s about as strong as my opinion is. I’m not one of the key decision-makers by any stretch in that, so I’m just kind of letting that play out. I think the one thing about college football, I think it’s a special thing. I think these kids get a great education and get to play big-time football. Are there some tweaks we need to make to maybe help them a little bit more? I think most coaches think that. But in terms of unionizing and all that, I don’t think I’m there yet.”
(Do you want players paying attention to that topic?) “I hope we can pay attention for two hours a day on this football field and get better there, is what they need to pay attention to. And then they need to go pay attention in the classroom. And then we’ll prioritize some other things.”
(On Cameron Van Winkle and Korey Durkee) “That’s probably the knock on all kickers if there’s a knock, is inconsistency. Most guys have decent enough legs and it’s all about consistency. It’s so similar to golf. It’s all great at the driving range, then you go out there with the pressure-whatever – chip, putt – it’s hard. I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys. I think Cameron’s coming along fine. I think surgery went very well. I think we’re being smart with him. He’s not in the groove he needs to be in, but he will get there. And I think Korey’s making progress as well. We’re kind of an unorthodox kicking team, so we’ll figure out however he can punt best. If that means kick grounders, kick it in the air, a combination of both, we’ll do all those things.”
(Unorthodox?) “Just keep watching us and you’ll see that. Or if you study any of our tape at Boise. We’re just kind of unorthodox in the kicking game in everything we do.”
(On Lavon Coleman) “In general I think we’ve got some pretty good players there. I always say this, you need a handful of backs because there’s no one position that takes more of a pounding. You’re just not going to have them all, as you’re seeing right now in spring ball. And so Lavon’s a guy that redshirted. There’s not a lot of tape on him. But he’s looked really good out here. We all think he has a very big upside and a big chance if he continues to improve. He’s a physical guy and he’s one that we’re excited about.”