As he does each Thursday, Huskies coach Chris Petersen met for a few minutes with reporters to answer final questions before Washington's game against Stanford on Saturday. Here's all of what he said.
(How does the schedule leading up to this game play to your advantage?) “Well, I don’t know if we’re going to use it to our advantage. We’ve played four games, so we’ve learned some pretty good things. Stanford’s the best in the business. They really are. They’re very good. So we’ll have to play the best that we play, for sure.”
(Do you think you’ll learn more about your team after this game than the other games?) “I don’t know. That’s hard to know. I really don’t know the answer to that question. Totally different beasts than we’ve seen in the past. So it’s going to be a lot tougher sledding, for sure. We’ll learn some things. Learn more than we’ve learned? I don’t know.”
(Coach Smith said it’s been “depressing” watching film of Stanford’s defense. Same feeling for you?) “Yeah, it’s tough. You put the tape on each week and it’s a new thing. You put the tape on (of Stanford) and you’re like, ‘Oh, OK, I get it now. I get why they’ve been to so many bowl games the last whatever years.’ It’s not luck. They’ve got so many good players that are well coached and they play hard.”
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(Is Stanford the benchmark right now?) “I think, yeah. There’s a few teams right now, but Stanford’s certainly one. Not just in our conference but in the country, without question. Extremely impressive.”
(On preparations this week with the rain) “It’s supposed to be pretty nice Saturday. … We’ve been outside a couple days, inside a couple days. The weather shouldn’t be a factor in the game."
(How has the team responded since the Georgia State game?) “I think they’re fine. We’re kind of on to the next challenge; we move past that last game always really rapidly. It’s always, ‘OK, what are we looking at now?’ You put the tape of Stanford on on Monday and your eyes open up pretty wide.”
(Trying to stop Ty Montgomery) “He’s a difference-maker in every game. He does get special attention. Exactly what do you do? I think everybody has their plan for him; few really execute it how they’d like to. He seems to show up in every game in a big way. You talk about their defense - we haven’t even gotten to their offense - probably starts with him, their QB, their o-line, and go on and on.”
(Pleased with special teams return and cover units?) “Yeah. I think our coverage units have been pretty good. I think we’re making progress there. I don’t think we’ve been challenged like we will be this week. That will be something that will certainly be for us to pay attention to. That will be kind of a benchmark to see where we are on special teams for sure.”
(Expectation for John Ross Saturday?) “John Ross will suit up and play. That’s our expectation, and we’ll go from there after that.”
(Ben Riva?) “He’s practiced this week. He’s going to suit up and we’ll see if he plays or not, but he has practiced.”
(And Joe Mathis?) “Joe’s been good. He’s practiced and we’ll get all those guys back in the mix.”
(With school starting, anything particular you had to do to juggle getting ready for a big game?) “They are all big games, so that stays the same. We’ve had to get them off the practice field ASAP. Nobody can really linger unless they don’t have class right away. It seems like three-quarters of the team has class right after practice, so they have to get in there and get showered and go. It’s been different, but we’ve been talking about it, trying to prepare them for it. Now it’s plan in place, so let’s go.”
(What if they really want to talk to the media? Begging you?) “Yeah…you’ll have to find them in class to get that done, I guess.”
(The blackout – planned regardless of start time?) “I don’t think time has anything to do with it. I think they are planned way in advance so people can get their gear. I don’t think it has anything to do with night or day.”
(On Stanford’s ball control offensively) “That’s their style. They’re good at grounding it out, huddling up, eating clock up, not letting the other side have the ball as much. Play field position game. Very much kind of a pro-style mentality, pro-style approach in terms of all that, and they’re darn good at it. With those guys, it wouldn’t really matter what their style is. They’d be good at what they do. But that’s what they chose to do, and it’s really good because there’s so few teams that are like that right now, that makes it a little bit of an anomaly as well.”
(Has Stanford’s passing game matured over last year or so?) “I haven’t seen them from the last year or so but I know they’ve got an experienced quarterback and the receivers are all very good. So they’re efficient as all get-out. I think he’s completing 70 percent of his passes. It starts with the power run-game. So it’s a nice combination.”
(Third downs more important against Stanford?) “I think third downs are always important. Everybody’s trying to be in third and short, third and medium, to give yourself a chance. I think their defense is really good about not letting you get into those situations, and their offense is pretty good about getting there. So it kind of ties into their philosophy as well.”
(Does Stanford force different fourth-down decisions because touchdowns are at such a premium?) “I think points are a premium, so we don’t have a plan right now saying ‘fourth down and one on the 20, we’re going or kicking it.’ I think we’ll just have to kind of see where we are and how we’re feeling at that time.”
(Stanford’s red zone offense not as effective?) “I don’t know … they’ve played three games. I think stats, like I say … the important point is, they win their games, they’re efficient, they play good football. I don’t know what that really means. You’d think their offense would be pretty good in the red zone with that style. I think there’s a turnover too. They’re a complete team.”