Here’s everything Huskies coach Chris Petersen said after practice today.
(On preparations this week) “We’re kind of in the dog days of fall camp. Really proud — we had a great practice this morning. Because it’s hard. There’s a lot of guys that are banged up and sore and stiff (after) 20-some practices, and so now we’ve got to not waste these next few practices before we get into game-plan-type stuff. So today was real good.”
(Is it too early to gauge the identity of your team?) “I don’t think you can do that until you play some games, go through some hard things, see how the respond.”
(Kevin King came to you in practice last week to rally the team — is that typical for senior leaders during your time as a head coach?) “I always think it’s best when most of the stuff comes from the locker room. When you want to get things done, it needs to come from the locker room. It’s really nice when the leaders of the team are on the same page as the coaches. That’s when you’re headed in the right direction. We’ve got some really good leaders on this team. Feel really good about their mindset and the things they come up with and the things they think is important. That’s how it should be. We’re all in this together, and they have a great pulse on what’s going on in that locker room — better than the coaches do. So it’s smart for us to pay attention to what they say.”
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(Do you plan to name team captains? Or week-by-week again, like last year?) “That’s’ a good question. … I think that the leaders are kind of selected in the locker room by the team, and I don’t think it’s one or two or three guys when you have it going. And I don’t think we have just one or two or three guys. I think the coin toss is something completely different. Everybody thinks, ‘Oh, the captains,’ and that’s not exactly how I think about it.”
(Are the coin-toss participants strategically selected then?) “It has been in the past, but I think moving forward there’s some strategicness behind it, but it doesn’t necessarily have to do with the leadership of this team. Could be, but not necessarily.”
(Making decisions yet on which true freshmen will play?) “We’re getting close. It’ll be at the end of this week, but it won’t be finalized. There’s a couple guys you say, ‘hey, we’re going,’ and a couple guys you say, ‘let’s see how the next three weeks go.’ And then you adjust accordingly. There will be a guy you think you’re going to redshirt, and maybe something happens in game five where you have a string of injuries and it’s like, OK, now the plans are very different.”
(Safe to say it’ll be fewer than the last two seasons?) “I think it’ll be fewer, I do. I think in the ideal world you’d like to redshirt all of them, but I think they’re better players than there (were) 10 years ago, and they’re ready to play, and so I think you’re going to always have that. And your depth is never where you need it. As much as you try to plan on that, it’s just not going to be where you need it always.”
(On Austin Joyner recovering from ACL tear) “He and Quinten Pounds both had the same injury, and both those guys have been impressive in terms of how they bounced back for this fall camp. A lot of times going into fall camp, you’re like, hey, we’ve got to ease them into this, they’re not ready. And those guys hit the ground running. We’ve been really impressed. I’ve seen out of Austin what we saw in high school. I think that guy is a very ferocious competitor. I think he competes really hard. I think he’s still learning that position at corner, but he’s a really good competitor, he’s a really good athlete. I think he’s one of those guys that can play multiple positions. But I’ve been pleased with his progress.”
(And he’s doing some kick returner stuff too?) “Yeah, he’ll be in the mix at some kick returning. He was great with the ball in his hands when he was in high school. That’s another way that can possibly happen.”
(Sounds like Sean Constantine had an injury?) “Sean did have a bad injury -- he broke his ankle. So he’s going to have surgery here shortly. That’s going to be months of rehab for that one. Those are the hard ones. Kid worked his tail off. He’s had some injuries in the past, even through spring, and gotten himself in great shape, and he has another significant injury. He’s been, these last few days, spectacular, in terms of his mindset, his mentality, when you know it’s going to cost you that much playing time.”
(No other injuries from the Friday scrimmage?) “It was really good, except for that one. I don’t know why it is it seems like you have those early, whether it’s in fall camp or early in the season. Just kind of a freak deal, really, is what it was.”
(Backup QB competition still up in the air?) “It is, yeah. Those guys are competing their tail off. It was a little bit like the situation last year, trying to figure out who the starter was. Still trying to figure that out. I think those guys will compete for some more time. We still have a handful of days left to figure it out, and they’ve gotten a lot of reps. It’ll probably be week by week, unless one guy starts to emerge.”
(But Jake Browning is cemented as the starter?) “Well, yeah. I think he’ll be the starter for this first game, and he better produce. We’ll see.”