Huskies coach Chris Petersen answered a handful of questions earlier today about his late-game clock management decisions in UW's 27-26 loss to Arizona on Saturday.
Here's his first response, in full, when asked if he would have handled anything differently. Remember, there was 1:33 remaining and seven seconds on the play clock when the Huskies snapped the ball on first down, and Arizona had one timeout left.
“The one thing I really want you guys to know is, all of it was very calculated. So you might not agree with the strategy, but we’ve got our charts, all on our game plans, and the guys are looking at it upstairs. After we converted those two first downs and we had four minutes and some seconds, and we got two first downs, and so looking at the chart, we felt like we still had a handful of seconds left before we could really knee it and kill it.
"And what I didn’t want to do was take three knees and then have to punt. We didn’t know exactly how many seconds were going to be left. I didn’t want to do that thing where you’re running around back there and then all of a sudden there’s one second left and they’re in field goal range. So the strategy was, hey, we’re going to run one more play, and then we can re-look at this time clock and see if we can get it all the way down and take a knee. And then the ball comes out. So we had thought about that very closely."
Also: why not call timeout immediately after Arizona's third-down play, giving the Huskies 25-30 seconds to try to score if Casey Skowron made the kick?
"Your second question, probably the thing I’m most discouraged about that whole thing is that he got a free kick. That was not the intent, and live and learn on that. We practice that every week ourselves, that if they ice you right at the end, you’re going to take a free kick. And so I tried to call timeout a little bit earlier, twice, and for whatever reason it wasn’t called, and that’s on me to make sure that we don’t even mess around with that. So that was probably as frustrating as anything. Going back and looking at it, we looked at our charts again, where we were, I would do exactly the same thing. I would run another play to probably our most sure-handed guy. That didn’t even enter my mind that was going to happen. It really didn’t. I know everybody else was probably thinking that, but it didn’t.”
But what did the Huskies have to lose by calling timeout with 30 seconds left?
“I guess we could have done that, yeah, and had a chance to return something," Petersen conceded. "I think the main thing is going back to the first part of killing the clock, that whole situation. I would have done that the same. I would have run one more play and see where we were, and if we can run that thing all the way out.”