Here's what Huskies coach Chris Petersen said after today's 59-52 victory over Eastern Washington at Husky Stadium.
(Opening) “Well, did you like it? I hope the fans did. What a heck of a game, huh? I’m really, really proud of how our guys fought. Hats off to Eastern Washington; I don’t think that was a fluke. They are that good. Their quarterback, Mr. Adams - he’s deadly accurate, gets the ball out quick and never panics. He’s a fun guy to watch if you’re in the stands in red. My hat’s off to those guys.
“Really proud of our offense. They did what they needed to do, made a lot of strides, improvements. The o-line, running backs, Cyler (Miles)…it was his first chance and he was pretty efficient out there for the first time.
“I figured it would come down to a game of turnovers and those types of things and there where three huge, huge plays - two of them turnovers we got, which was probably the difference, along with Brian Clay recovering that onside kick. If he doesn’t get that that’s a short field. I thought that was a good, gutsy call by Beau Baldwin and company over there and luckily Brian Clay was on point. He’s a heck of a player and glad he’s a Husky.”
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(How much of a concern is the defense now?) “We have to play a lot better than that. We all told the guys last night, all we’re doing right now is learning. I don’t care what the score is and what happens, we are going back to work on Monday and that’s always going to be our mindset. If it’s not, we can’t work with you, no matter what happens. So last week, defense was really pretty good and the offense couldn’t do a whole lot; this week a reversal of fortunes and hopefully we can eventually put two good sides together and play good special teams and get something going.”
(On Cyler Miles’ ability to put points on the board when he’s out there) “We’ve got a lot more football to play before we anoint him as a guy whose going to get us 50 points a game, but I thought he did some good things. He’s got a good command. He knows what’s going on, but he’s still learning. There were some things out there like, oh. There’s more out there. He left some meat on the bone out there. Good thing about Cyler is, he’s very passionate about football, He studies hard, he’s a gym rat around here. He’ll continue to get better.”
(On Marcus Peters and discipline) “I’m not into the stupid penalties. And it’s really easy for me; it’s not even an issue whether a guy is going to play or not. You don’t play how we want you to play? You’re not playing. It’s not even a decision for me. It’s easy.”
(On the DBs performance after Peters went out) “I thought our guys stepped up. It was good to get some other guys in there and let them compete.”
(On Lavon Coleman) “He’s kind of exactly what we thought. He’s a tough, hard-nosed runner. All those guys did a good job. It was by committee and those guys are a great committee so far. I was proud of Coop getting in there, getting some hard yards. That guy, my hat’s off to him, all the things he’s been through. And not even from last year. He was banged up in spring. He’s just done a great job battling through. It was nice to get Shaq in there and see what he could do a little bit. It was good to run the ball like we did.”
(Planning to just get Shaq Thompson in for one series?) “We really were. We’ve got some guys that are all healthy right now, but he’s been working hard. Every time we get him in there, we like what we see. And so we wanted to get him a series, and he made the series kind of short, and we like that.”
(Been giving him more reps in practice?) “Not a bunch. Just a little bit. Just kind of keeping him a little bit in rhythm. You really can’t get a guy like that in rhythm until you get him live reps, and so that was his first go-round. I’m anxious to put the tape on – he’s got pretty good vision, you can see that – but I think that play was blocked pretty clean as well.”
(What did defense try to adjust at halftime?) “I think we had to get more pressure on him. He was not going to flinch with a three-man rush and we weren’t getting any pressure on him with three-man. He’s a tough guy to go against, because he’ll sit back there in three (man) and wait for something to come open, and if you blitz him and don’t tackle him, which we did a few times in the first half, he’s going to slip out and he’s going to make you pay. So a little bit of pick your poison. But I thought our guys rallied a little better in terms of pass rush, Kwiatkowski sending more pressure on him, and I think that worked a little bit better for us.”
(Did you think this would be a shootout like this?) “I never know how these games are going to go. I didn’t anticipate the last one in Hawaii being 16-17. I knew they’d score some points and I was hoping we would. Did I think it would be this high-scoring where neither defense could really stop the other side? No, I didn’t. but I’m glad we got a few more points, and go back to work on Monday, and like I said, I think people don’t realize how many guys we’ve lost out of the secondary here last year that were really good players. There were three really good, solid players back there. And so now we’ve got kind of all new guys in there, new schemes, and we’ve got to get them dialed in quickly.”
(Atmosphere, etc.) “It was awesome. It was great. I loved it. It was so cool. When you look up there at those rafters and see all those people, those triple decks, it’s awesome. Then they started the Go Dawgs chant. That’s impressive. I don’t think they know how impressive that is from down on the field. I really enjoyed it. I appreciate everyone coming today and bringing energy. I hope they enjoyed the game. I know everybody is going to be ‘defense this,’ and ‘defense that,’ but hey, it was a heck of a football game and at the end of the day, the Dawgs figured out how to win.”
(Difficulty of playing defense nowadays due to sophisticated offenses) “There’s just a lot of space out there. Spread offenses just spread them out, and you get a mobile quarterback that can keep things alive or carry the ball, that’s one of the things that really changes from the NFL, in my opinion, because we’re nervous about getting our quarterbacks beat up, too, but it’s a little bit of college football. You just don’t see that very much in pro football. You see a little bit of it. You’re seeing more of it. But just the fact that you’re spreading them out, and I think the fact that linemen can go downfield, basically, on passes, those run play-actions, is really, really tough on the linebackers. In the old days, linemen come off – the old days, three or four years ago – linemen come off the ball, run-block you, they’re going to hit it like a ton of bricks, and you can’t do that anymore. You have to make sure these receivers that are coming behind you for throwing lanes, he’s going to hand it off. So it’s almost like play pass first and then come up to defend. We could talk for a long time about that. I think that coupled with the high schools, throwing the ball more, they’re running the spread offenses. They’re more sophisticated when we get them. And so it’s just tough being a defensive guy these days right now."
(On Danny Shelton) “Really proud of Danny. I thought Hau’oli (Kikaha) played well, too. Danny, he is a big guy, strong. That kind of game really isn’t his type of game. That’s not really his strength. His is like, run the ball at me 50 times a game and clog up the middle. But that’s not Eastern’s style. He played a lot of snaps and got pressure in there. I’ve been as proud of Danny as anyone I’ve been around form when we came in here in December, January … to where he is now as a player, as a person, as a leader on this team — he’s done a great job.”
(Hau’oli rushing the passer) “I like him when he’s going after the quarterback. We’ve got to get used to some different things. Other guys will get to the passer. I think we’re still learning our guys and still learning what works best for us. If we can’t do more than two things on defense, than we’ll really be in trouble. This will be a good tape to put on. … Hopefully some of our young DBs will play a little more confident and make plays. I think Mr. Adams made some spectacular throws and some pretty good catches; our young DBs were right there. They just made a really good throw and a really good catch. That’s always our thing is, they gotta earn it. We don’t want guys wide open in seams and running and we’re not tackling well. If we’re running down field and a guy makes a great throw and a great catch, we tip our hat and try to reload. They’ve got scholarships, too.
(Hands-to-face penalties — Technique? Discipline?) “Yeah, a little bit of both. I’ve never seen that called so many times, so it will be a big point of emphasis, no question. That really hurt us. Our unsportsmanlike (penalties) — Keishawn (Bierria) got one sliding on the quarterback late; Marcus (Peters) got a penalty; the hands to the face; the offsides against an offense like that — that killed us. So that is discipline, that is technique. So we’ll get some things figured out in a hurry on those kinds of things.
(More on defense) “We got to put the tape on first to really see what the heck went on and where our technique isn’t right. The first thing is, we’ve got to clean up some discipline things, without question. And then look at our scheme — hey are we putting our guys in the best chance possible to make plays or asking them to do something they can’t do? It always starts with us coaches; there’s no putting it on (them) — they gotta do this, they gotta do that. It’s starts with us, and we will. We’ll put it on our shoulders and analyze it and try to figure out how to put our guys in the best positions to make plays.”