University of Washington

Here’s how the Huskies are moving forward after loss to Cal

Head coach Chris Petersen on Huskies’ loss to Cal

Washington head coach Chris Petersen reflects on the Huskies' 20-19 loss to Cal.
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Washington head coach Chris Petersen reflects on the Huskies' 20-19 loss to Cal.

Nearly every day since last week’s loss to Cal, Washington players and coaches have been answering the same question.

How has the team responded?

Wide receiver Andre Baccellia said he took the defeat as hard as anyone on the roster. But, he added, the receivers also had a solid and productive week of practice. That was the theme, it seemed, in every conservation. The loss — with its dropped passes and penalties and missed opportunities — was a difficult one for the Huskies to put behind them. But they also understand the importance of moving forward as Saturday’s game against Hawaii inches closer.

“We were all in here on Monday watching film, getting after it in the film room, getting after it in recovery,” said linebacker Ryan Bowman. “And then (in practice), perfect execution and being violent and physical and just having that chip on our shoulders and just ready to attack Hawaii.”

Speaking to the media on Thursday, Petersen said that’s the kind of mindset he tries to model.

“I work really, really hard to just learn from things,” Petersen said. “It’s my job to set the tone with these guys. That’s when the coaches, the leadership, the senior leadership on the team … that’s when it matters. It’s easy to do things when things are all going well. When it’s not, you just stick to the process. That doesn’t mean we’re not learning and tweaking as we go. But we just got to keep working.”

But when it comes to handling defeat, Petersen didn’t downplay the difficulty.

“That was obviously painful,” he said. “Any time you don’t get it done, it is extremely painful. I don’t really know how to explain it. Players and coaches in the business, they know what it feels like. It’s hard. But we have had a good week. We’ve got a unique team coming in here so that presents some challenges.”

Looking back at the Cal game, Petersen said many of the issues came back to fundamentals. With so many new starters — UW lost nine starters on defense from last season — there is bound to be a learning curve.

“We just got to keep getting better at those things — tackling, getting off blocks, covering guys, thinking better on the field in critical situations,” Petersen said. “That’s what it’s all about. Like I said, we played a good football but we didn’t play it good enough in the most critical times.”

‘It wasn’t going to be made up’

Petersen was jokingly asked if he’d be keeping a closer eye on the weather heading into the game against Hawaii.

“There’s not much I can do about it,” Petersen said. “On Saturday, if it’s raining, we’ll put rain gear on. If it’s lightning, we’ll sit in the locker room.”

That locker room is where the Huskies spent their time during the 2 hour and 39 minute weather delay that interrupted last week’s loss to the Golden Bears. Petersen said rescheduling the game for Sunday was considered an option “for about one second.”

“But it’s like, where’s Cal going to stay?” Petersen said. “That wasn’t going to be able to happen.”

Petersen had another idea.

“I thought maybe we should go to the indoor facility,” he said with a grin, “and just let the coaches and players go.”

Realistically, though, Petersen knew what would’ve happened if the game didn’t restart that night.

“We knew it wasn’t going to made up if it was canceled,” Petersen said. “That’s kind of what the world on the street was that we weren’t going to be able to make it up.”

Lauren Kirschman is the UW Huskies beat writer for The News Tribune. She previously covered the Pittsburgh Steelers for PennLive.com. A Pennsylvania native and a University of Pittsburgh graduate, she also covered college athletics for the Beaver County Times from 2012-2016.
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