Huskies coach Chris Petersen met with reporters earlier this afternoon for the final time before Washington’s 11 a.m. game Saturday against the Sacramento State Hornets. Here’s everything Petersen said, including the news that junior safety Trevor Walker (and freshman defensive end Benning Potoa’e) are likely to redshirt this season.
(On improving the running game this week) “Well, we’re working hard. That’s all I can tell you. We’ll have to go play the game to see if we’re making any strides there. But the kids are working hard.”
(Seeing sense of urgency you wanted?) “There’s a sense of urgency. They give us that. We’ve got a young squad that’s growing by leaps and bounds. You’ve got to go play the game to see if we made any strides. It’s fine in practice. but they’re focused and working hard.”
(Message to Jake Browning this week?) “Same as it was last week. We play a lot of football. One play at a time. Just keep learning and building, and that message to him isn’t any different than the rest of the guys. O-line, we’ve got one or two guys that have played in there a little bit. I mean, that’s the same message we give those guys, same message we give any of our new receivers, DBs, all those things. Everybody wants to talk about that guy (the quarterback) and rightly so, but it’s the same message to everybody.”
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(On Browning’s response this week) “I wouldn’t know if we played a game or we didn’t. that’s just how he is. He’s always the same. And I think that’s one of the things that we like about him. He’s very much about ball. Very much about trying to get better. he does a great job of that. Everybody wants to make a big deal about the youth, and I think there’s something to it just because he hasn’t seen a ton of live reps, but you wouldn’t know by his preparation.”
(Different feel for Browning since being named the starter?) “That’s a good question. I don’t really feel that. I kind of feel like it’s been business as usual. I think the other quarterbacks have been great. I think they’re preparing like they’re the guys as well. That’s one thing I do kind of like – it just kind of seems like how it has been, so it’s not like some earth-shattering announcement. Everybody’s trying to take care of themselves, rather than thinking, ‘OK, our quarterback, he’s got to make all the plays.’ We know our quarterback will make plays if everybody else gives him some time to throw the ball and the receivers run the proper routes and depths and those kind of things.”
(What kind of team does Sacramento State have?) “I think you look around the country, and the one thing that jumps out is, everybody’s got good coaches. The one thing with that internet and the technology that we live in, that type of world, everybody just has such good access, so I think coaches are studying year round. It doesn’t matter what level you are. So everybody’s got pretty good coaches. I think that’s the first thing. the second thing is, I think there’s a lot of good football players out there. so they have some very good talent, and then it’s about playing as a tem, who can play the best as a team, and that’s where we need to get. We need to play as a team and get some things going, so I have no doubt. I know what Sac State’s going to bring. They’re going to bring tremendous focus, energy, effort, they’re going to play well, they’re going to play inspired. I mean, you can see it, what’s gone on the first week or so. So it’s really clear what they’re going to bring. What we need to do is match all that.”
(Help that Portland State beat WSU last week?) “I think we learn from everything, but it’s every year. You just look at us last year playing, we had our hands full with a team out of their same conference. This isn’t lip service. They have good coaches, they have good players, they have good teams. They really do. And so again, I go back, it’s never about the opponent. It’s about us. It’s just playing to the highest level that we’re capable of playing. I know sometimes that’s a hard concept for everybody to get, but that’s how we try to look at it.”
(On emphasizing a strong start running the ball) “I think it’s going to be whatever we can do to move the ball. We didn’t throw the ball very well. We didn’t run the ball very well. So it’s whatever we can do to score points.”
(On slow starts dating back to last season) “Last year’s team is completely different. The comparisons you might make is we had a month off (before the Cactus Bowl). We had eight months off (before the 2015 season opener). The other thing is, Boise has something to do with that. That’s a good football team. So I think you’ve got to go play real reps and hopefully we do start faster, but I think it’s completely different than last year.”
(Not a big deal playing in the morning, right?) “It shouldn’t be a huge deal. We don’t play many games at 11 a.m., so it’s a little bit different, but we do get up early around here, so it’s not an excuse for anything.”
(Will you move practice times once school starts?) “We’ll be in the mornings. We’ll bump it back a little bit. We’ll be a little earlier, because they don’t have to run off to class right away. So it’ll be a little bit different, but not much. The big thing’s going to come the night before – do they get themselves in bed fast enough. But we’re getting up kind of how we’ve done all year long.”
(Have your game-planning duties changed since last season?) “No, it hasn’t. Everybody’s got responsibilities they’ve got to take care of, and I’ve got a lot of those too. There are some things I’m involved with, but everybody’s got their job and away we go.”
(On the defense’s strong second half at Boise and whether that confirmed his expectations for that group) “I think we have some good players over there, I do. And it’s going to be us growing and playing as a group together. Not have any big assignment busts. We had one of those in the game that really, really could have hurt us. But I think if we continue to play with the effort and energy that we played, and great communication, and we really get dialed into the calls that we have over and over, I think this can be a good defense. Staying healthy I think is going to be key. But I think we felt good about those all along. But again, like I said, it was one game and there was a lot of hype, a lot of energy. We’ve got to see if we can be consistent and we can build on it.”
(On Travis Feeney at BUCK) “I think Travis is an outside linebacker, and that’s really what that position is. So to me, I think he’s a little bit more at home anyways. He played that last year, he just played more to the field. So it’s not really that big of a deal to what he’s been doing. There’s some different calls. Being in the boundary’s a little bit different. If we pass-rush him a little bit more, that’s a little bit different, and I think he’s growing in there.”
(What makes him a good fit for that position?) “He’s an athletic guy that’s very long. He’s one of those guys that gets his hands on you, it’s hard to get into him to block him. He’s got a unique skillset that he can really run. He’s very, very fast, and he’s long. And those two things are things we like to think we coach, but we don’t. that has to do more with his mom and dad than us.”
(What do you want to see out of your team this week?) “I’d like to see our defense play with the same energy and emotion. I thought those guys for the most part were pretty clean, no glaring assignment errors, and be real physical. And on offense, I’d just like to see us move the ball better and play more as a team and stay on the field a little bit longer than we certainly did against Boise, and get a chance to get into some rhythm.”
(Anybody who played Friday who is out this week?) “I don’t think at this point.”
(Benning Potoa’e going to redshirt?) “Yeah, there are still some guys we’re kind of deciding, but I think at this point that’s what we’re trying to do. I think you saw the guys that we did play, and those other guys that traveled that didn’t play, we’re still kind of deciding. But again, it’s game one. We’ve still got to get through some other games before we decide final things on everybody.”
(Deontae Cooper available this week?) “Questionable. We’ll see.”
(Trevor Walker?) “Trevor we’re thinking is probably going to redshirt this year. He’s got a redshirt year and with some of the other guys we have, so that’ll probably be a fan that we’re thinking in that direction.”
(Jomon Dotson?) “He’s available, ready to roll.”