Here’s everything Huskies coach Chris Petersen said after Washington’s 49-3 victory over Arizona on Saturday at Husky Stadium.
(Opening) “It’s about time. I think I’ll just start by saying, what I really appreciate, the fans that showed up here. We get all the challenges. I think this is the latest game that ever kicked off at Husky Stadium. Halloween night, weather’s supposed to be really poor, though it did cooperate just a little bit. I thought the fans made a difference. It was loud on third downs and I really appreciate them showing up. Been waiting for this one. Kind of complete performance. Thought our defense again was really, really good. Arizona, they’ve got some firepower on offense, they really do. Finally got some things going on offense, balanced attack. Nice to see maybe our passing game overshadow our run game a little bit, and I thought our special teams did what we needed to do on kind of a windy night. Pleased with these guys. I think our team kind of felt the urgency this week that we neede3d to get something done in a hurry.”
(On getting off to a better early start) “I think we finally scored a touchdown in the first quarter. I think that made everybody feel better. I think these kids, I’ve been saying it all the time. They work hard, they really care, I think a lot of it has to do with them pressing and kind of stumbling over ourselves sometimes, so getting points on the board made them breathe a little bit easier.”
(On getting Jake Browning back) “It was good, no doubt about it. He progressively got a little better during the week. Earlier in the week, it was a little bit questionable. We didn’t think he was as far ahead maybe early in the week as we were thinking last weekend. But he kind of worked through it and did a great job. Played with toughness and made some plays.”
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(On Browning looking more comfortable) “Yeah, as well as he played, he still left a few things on the table there that we were trying to get him to do. Some little things that can make a big difference. I think he’s getting more confident each week. But I think that’s one of the things we feel pretty good about. He has a really good command and a really good feel of what’s going on anyway. But I think each week, certainly when we score some points, that’s going to make everybody more confident.”
(On cleaning up mistakes that cost them against Arizona last year) “We didn’t turn the ball over at all, which was huge tonight, and we got a bunch of turnovers. I think it was four or five (it was four). We tell our team that all the time. We did that a couple weeks ago ourselves. You have very little chance of winning a game like that. So really proud of our offense to hang onto it, let alone create some things. And our defense. We always talk about creating turnovers. They’re not going to just give it to us. Every now and again they will. But I thought our defense was really physical, and you could feel it on the field. They’ve been physical just about every game this year.”
(Is there something about Arizona’s scheme that is a good match for your defense?) “That’s a good question. I think our coaches are good game-planners. The kids kind of get it and execute. I don’t know exactly what it is other than the guys playing really hard and being physical. Sometimes in spread systems, it’s hard to play really physical football, because they create 1-on-1s and it’s hard to get a lot of guys running to the ball. But we were able to do that tonight, and if they made us miss, somebody else was there in a hurry.”
(On getting three interceptions against Arizona team that had only thrown one all season) “I know. We didn’t tell our guys that they only had one pick. I don’t know if they knew that. I didn’t want to plant that seed to those guys. So they came out flying around. It was awesome. That was a great interception by Jojo. He covered a lot of ground and actually caught the ball like a receiver. That was impressive. We like those guys back there. guys like Jojo McIntosh, who hasn’t got a ton of playing time, but he is a physical player. And now showing up making plays on the ball. I think Coach Lake does a great job of coaching those guys, and they were big tonight.”
(Did you have a feeling that this game was maybe possible?) “It’s interesting; it’s hard to predict sometimes. Because I go into most of the games going, ‘Hey, we’re going to move the ball and do some things.’ We just haven’t clicked the last few weeks. So to come out and play a complete game, I’ve been expecting that for awhile. The defense has been playing at a high level, but for whatever reason we haven’t really clicked on offense. We got some things going tonight, so that’s like what I opened with, I really felt — about time. That’s what we’ve been waiting for. We’ve seen it; we see how these guys practice. We know we have it in us. We just have some young guys that are inconsistent. It’s not a big thing, but those little things add up to big things and make us stumble on ourselves. So we’ve been waiting for this and hopefully we can build on it.”
(Any initial word on how badly Elijah Qualls might be hurt?) “I don’t know. I don’t think it’s — we’ll have to see. It always comes (back) different than you think it is, but at one point there was talk of him trying to see if he could go (back in). So I don’t know.”
(The last drive of the second quarter was as well-execute as you guys have had. What went into that?) “Sometimes when we go faster, Jake in particular seems to get into a rhythm. And that kind of seems to be a little bit into his comfort zone, and so things we’ve talked about maybe we could do a little more of.”
(On halftime talk — maybe ‘lay the hammer down’?) “You know, it really was like what I hoped it would be. It wasn’t super emotional. I don’t really know if you would’ve known if we were ahead or behind. We just talked about what we needed to do. Nobody was jumping up and down saying, ‘OK, now we gotta lay the hammer.’ We talked about the things we needed to talk about, the kids rallied up and it was good. I think if you have to live and die every game on all this emotion, I think you’re going to play up and down. I think the kids were very focused and they feel like every week is an important game for us.”
(Where is your offensive line now compared to, say, a month ago? Do things feel settled more there?) “That’s a good question. I know we’re making progress. There’s some things out there — we got sacked a few times. They brought some different pressures — that ‘stack’ defense, they can bring it from a lot of different combinations. So they got us a couple times; I don’t know if it was just something we weren’t prepared for or if it was the physical breakdown, so I’ll have to look at that. But I do know that group is making incremental steps, and I think it’s going to be a good offensive line sooner than later.”