Huskies coach Chris Petersen met with reporters a little while ago for the final time before the Huskies open the season on Friday night at Boise State.
Petersen didn’t say anything particularly newsworthy -- sorry, still no quarterback announcement -- but did speak for about nine minutes about a few different topics. Here’s everything he said.
(How was the week?) “Good week. I think you could feel the urgency of the guys. been practicing a long time to get ready to play this season. It’s a little bit different than the other sports. We only get so many opportunities, where the year-long preparation is what it is. So it’s time to play, and they’re excited.”
(What kind of your imprint might you see on Boise?) “I’m not worried about that. I’m worried about our imprint on this team right here.”
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(How did your starting quarterback handle being the starting quarterback this week?) “(Laughs) Well, we actually went with 10 guys on offense this week. We’re still making sure we decide the right thing. We’ll get him some reps in the next 48 hours. ... They’ve done well. Everybody’s done a great job, from our quarterbacks, we’ev got a lot of guys with a lot of different roles. We’re going to rotate guys in at a lot of positions, and I think guys are excited to play.”
(Was there enough speculation for your liking?) “You would have to tell me that. I don’t really pay attention to that. So if that happened, I appreciate it.”
(On rotating a lot of players against Boise State) “That has nothing to do with Boise State. That’s just kind of our style. We have a lot of young guys that we have to get experience -- that’s not going to change after game one. we’re going to rotate guys in. We’re going to get a lot of guys work. We’ve got to build depth and it’s kind of the process as we go throughout the season.”
(Does this feel like 2013 opener between Boise State and UW?) “It’s hard to know. I think every team is different. I think we have some good players. I really do. We’ve got some good talent, and I’m just excited to watch these guys grow. I know they’re going to as the season goes on. I think we’re going to be a much different team in a couple weeks, but I think we’re going to do some good things in two days.”
(On the reaction from Boise State fans when UW series was announced) “I think there’s been two Pac-12 teams that have gone into Boise in the entire history of Boise State. So for us at that time to get another one to come back was a big deal and it still is. I just didn’t know I would be on the opposite sideline or it probably wouldn’t have happened.”
(You got that sense from the fans, too?) “There was no sense from the fans -- I know from when Oregon State came over and Oregon, what that means, because not many people will go in there and play.”
(Do the players look at this as a statement game?) “I think these guys are just trying to take care of themselves and make sure that their game is right and have a chance to go out and have some fun and compete, is what I really think. I don’t think it’s about us making a statement or anything like that; I think it’s just about it’s time to go play and play against some different guys than they’ve been competing against for a real long time, and see where we are.”
(Did this week of work confirm your believe in your game plan, specifically with the QBs?) “Absolutely. We feel good about it. We took about as much time as we could deciding what we were going to do and I think we feel very good about it.”
(How long is it going to take some of the kids to get used to the speed of the game?) “It will be a little bit different. Opening kickoff, all of a sudden guys are running a little bit faster than they do in practice. On both sides. It takes guys a minute to get up to speed but I think the kids, they adjust fast. By the end of the first quarter I think guys settle in a little bit. Ball security is always a big thing the first games because however many days it’s been there’s not a lot of hitting the ball carriers, throughout the country. So now everybody gets ramped up to speed, that’s a big issue. There’s going to be some things that are different, but I think our guys are prepared.”
(How about the team’s health?) “I think we’re pretty good. I think…you’ve got a lot of guys…we’ve got nobody, no long term things at all. I think we feel good about where we are.”
(How aggressive can you be on both sides of the ball?) “We’ve got to play our style. We’ve got to play our system. Whatever that is, whether it’s aggressive or not aggressive…Coach K on defense, we’ve got to play our defense. We’ve got to play our style. We’ve got to play the things we believe in on all sides of the ball. There’s been no perfect games in the history of football, and this one won’t be as well. That’s what we tell our guys; we’ve got to go play fast and we’ll go fix the things next week. But we’ve got to play our style.”
(Do you open the playbook to your QBs?) “We always do what we think gives us the best chance to win. Nobody goes in with their full playbook. You put your playbook in in spring and put it in fall camp and then when you get to game time you tighten it up. You can only call so many things, so sometimes you’re anywhere from 75 to 85 calls. Sometimes some go fast teams will get in the 100’s, but those are rare occasions. So when you look at how many calls you’re going to have in a game, what can you really call? You always here these things about guys having 150 plays going in…you can’t rep all that stuff. You’re not going to get that many calls. So we don’t really go that way. We tighten things up and hopefully get guys dialed into what we’re actually going to do.”
(Would not knowing the identity of your opponent’s quarterback change your preparation at all?) “Again, I think you’ve got to just play your style. Now, if you don’t know their style, that’s a little bit more concerning. But you paly your style and you try to figure out what their tendencies are. I think at the start of the season, that’s always tricky. Guys are going to do what they do, but everybody has new wrinkles on both sides. So that’s what you’re always leery of as a coach. So you’ve got to do things relatively – you’ve got to do what you do to give yourself a chance to defend all the things you don’t know are coming.”
(Do anything unique to prepare players for the environment there?) “No. We got the crowd noise going. We usually have that when we’re on the road anyway we’ve had that going for a while. We play music at practice anyway. The music, for me, isn’t to get us excited. I’m excited out there just being out there. it might be for the kids, but they don’t know, half the time all we’re trying to do is take away their verbal communication. And so that’s been going on for a long time. But we made sure we had enough of it, because noise will be an issue.”
(Didn’t roll out any blue turf?) “We did not do that. It was all green.”
(How much does it help that you recruited so many of Boise State’s players?) “I don’t know how much it helps us, because our players have to go play. We can give them a pretty accurate breakdown of what we think the strengths of those guys are, and they’ve got good players with a lot of strengths. And we have to be able to simplify that stuff on tape and say, ‘hey, here’s what we’ve got to do,’ and again, it comes back to us playing our rules. They’re going to have things we haven’t seen, and are they catching us off-balance and can we make adjustments on the sideline? That’s what it’s going to come down to. So I don’t think it’s a situation where we have this tremendous advantage because we know some of those kids. Our players have got to go play.”
(Will playing against Boise State be like looking in a mirror a little bit?) “I think they’re different, but in general our styles are similar. All those coaches were with us at one time, one way or another, and so the styles are similar.”
(On whether it will be uncomfortable facing Boise State players) “The only time this thing really gets uncomfortable is you guys asking me over and over again how uncomfortable it’s going to be. Finally we get to go play a game, and so that’s what we like to do, is coach games and play games, so in 48 hours, we get to go play a game. Excited about it.”