Washington practiced for the 12th time this spring earlier today. It was sunny at Husky Stadium, though a chilly breeze made it somewhat difficult to enjoy the weather on the shaded side of the bleachers.
Anyway, coach Chris Petersen met with reporters afterward, and here's what he said.
(Does Shaq Thompson surprise you at all with play at RB?) “It’s getting a little surprising. Each time we get him the ball, he does something good. But I’m starting to sniff that he might be on the buddy system with the defense. I don’t think they want to hit one of their own. So we’ll have to see about that. Shaq’s done a great job. He’s just a football player, like I’ve said. Every time we put him out there on something, good things happen.”
(More on Shaq Thompson at RB) “We’re just trying to teach him a few things on offense and kind of see where it goes. Our arms are kind of wide open on the whole thing. We don’t really have a set plan. The better he does, the more we kind of give him some things. But we know we really need him on defense. That’s his primary role. And how he can help on offense, we’ll see about that.”
(On Thursday night’s scrimmage) “I thought the defense did a good job, and it’s so typical of practice or spring practice, defense does a really good job, they come out the next practice and don’t do nearly the job they need to do. We need to learn to compete at a consistent high level all the time, and today wasn’t what we needed. Put them in a hard situation, short-yardage situation, offense really had their way with it. Now, that’s kind of what happens. Offense gets challenged a little bit, they come back and they did a really nice job. I think we’re better than that on defense. Like I’ve said to you guys before, it’s always that kind of no-win situation with the head coach. If one side’s not good, you’re not happy. But we’re a work in progress and I did like our Thursday night. Thought there was some good energy. Good to play some real football. get some things hopefully done next week and finish this thing off the right way.”
(On next week’s Spring Preview) “We’re starting to put that plan together. Spring games are hard for coaches because we really, really would like to just have another practice. We need that with some scrimmaging involved but really we need every rep we can get. We’re going to figure it out here early in this next week in terms of … a lot of practice, there will be some fun things and we’ll do a little scrimmaging as well. I think the ideal situation is when you have enough bodies and you can draft teams and divide up and since I’ve been the head coach, I think we’ve had the luxury one time to do that. I think the players like it. Everybody likes it. It’s just very hard when you’ve lost the seniors, you’ve got some injuries, you don’t have those freshmen here to fill the numbers. But it’ll be a good day.”
(On walk-on safety Brian Clay) “I think Brian’s done a really nice job. I didn’t know about him before we got here. I think he was kind of a little under the radar, redshirt guy, transfer redshirt. He’s been a fun guy to coach. He’s got a great demeanor about him, really good attitude, and he’s getting better every day out here. He’s one of those guys that shows up focused, ready to get better and he’s a pleasure to be around.”
(On splitting spring ball around finals and spring break) “That’s a good question. I don’t know the perfect way to do spring ball. I really don’t. we do like to split it up. I’ve never done it where we had a two-week split, but we have to do that because of the quarter system. I think there’s a couple benefits when you do split it up. You can go hard early on … I think when you pack a lot of days in there, you have a tendency to just try to get through some days. But on the other hand, to spread it out a long time, that can get old as well. So it’s always that fine balance of what the right answer is. A lot of it comes down to the school-work, what’s going to work best for the school-work. A combination for the coaches to get out at the end of spring ball for recruiting. We analyze it as we go along. I think we’ll do some version of that, that we’ve done this year, next year.”
(Which side of the ball is progressing faster?) “That’s hard for me to answer right now. One day I’ll say yeah, defense is really coming on and made more plays than the offense and then like today we come back and it was a different story. I think both sides are making strides. There’s a lot of teaching. We’ll get to playing football a little bit more in the fall – a lot more in the fall, but I’m talking about fall camp. A lot of fundamentals being taught, a lot of schemes being taught. I know everybody would like to just go out here and throw a ball out here and scrimmage the whole time, but we just don’t feel that’s best for our development right now.”
(One or two things QBs have picked up well?) “I think they understand what we’re doing pretty well. I do. I think the schemes, they understand it, and now it’s just a process of making decisions faster. I think there’s a lot – hey, that’s a good decision, the ball needs to come out quicker. You need to see that and make that decision quicker. So I think there’s been a lot of progress on those two guys kind of understanding what we’re doing.”
(Has either QB separated, and would you tell us if they had?) “Probably no, I wouldn’t tell you. I don’t think it’s even really time for us to sit down and say hey this is the guy. We just need to keep competing and letting everybody get better.”
(Expecting John Ross back next week?) “Yeah, we are. We were hoping he was going to be here. He’s got the sniffles, and sometimes the sniffles keep you out.”