Elijah Molden knows it’s going to be quiet.
Typically when Washington is preparing for a road game, the Huskies face inquiries about dealing with crowd noise. This week, though, they’ve been preparing for the opposite problem. The environment at Stanford Stadium isn’t boisterous. It’s so silent that it’s been nicknamed “The Library.”
“They know that, too,” Molden said. “They use it to their advantage. … It’s different. When people come into our stadium, it’s the complete opposite of that. They’re on the other side of the spectrum, and they’ve found a way to make that work.”
The junior defensive back remembers UW’s trip to Stanford in 2017 when the Huskies fell 30-22. It was a close game, he said, but it didn’t feel close.
“It kind of felt like a time warp,” Molden said. “We’re aware of that now.”
The Huskies led the 2017 matchup 14-7 before the Cardinal took control in the second half. Last season at Husky Stadium, UW jumped out to a 21-0 lead before holding on for the 27-24 victory.
“It was just what everybody thinks of Stanford,” Harris said of the 2017 loss. “There wasn’t a lot of energy. Mostly we just have to bring our own energy. We can’t get lulled to sleep by the environment. We have to go in there focused, get a win and get out of there.”
Head coach Chris Petersen said the only thing UW can do to prepare is attempt to replicate the environment in practice. The Huskies haven’t won at Stanford Stadium since 2007.
“That’s part of like, the beauty of Stanford,” Petersen said. “They have their own unique way. There’s been no better team in the Pac-12 in the last few years than Stanford. Let’s not forget that. Our guys don’t forget that. They know, when they play Stanford, what’s coming their way.
“The message is there. We don’t play the games as coaches. We try to get them as prepared (as possible) and put the information out there. Hopefully, you practice the right way and on Saturday you cut it loose.”
Stanford starting quarterback K.J. Costello has been ruled out for Saturday’s game against UW. After saying Costello was “questionable to doubtful” to play earlier this week, Cardinal head coach David Shaw announced Wednesday that backup Davis Mills will get his second straight start. Costello injured the thumb on his throwing hand against Oregon on Sept. 21.
In Stanford’s victory over Oregon State last week, Mills completed 18-of-25 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Asked about preparation for Mills vs. Costello, Petersen reiterated his philosophy: It doesn’t matter to UW who plays quarterback.
“I think if you have distinctly different quarterbacks and some (teams) do: They have that runner versus passer,” Petersen said. “If that’s one of the guy’s strengths, if he’s really part of the run game and scrambling and all those things and if another guy is more of a passer, that can change some things. A few teams have that depending on their personnel.
“But that doesn’t apply to Stanford. I do think from what you can see on tape, Costello can run well. I think Mills probably a little more. But they’re there to run the ball. They’re there to hand it off 8 yards deep and to throw the ball in the pocket. Doesn’t mean they won’t do a little something different, but they have a system they like and they recruit to that.”
Ty Jones update
Injured wide receiver Ty Jones has yet to appear in a game this season even though he was listed as a backup on the depth chart until he was replaced by freshman Puka Nacua this week. On Thursday, Petersen said there’s a chance Jones could redshirt this season.
“That is one of the things we’re discussing,” Petersen said. “He’s practicing full speed. We’re just kind of looking and getting a couple games into this thing. But he’s back and rocking and rolling. The other guys have been solid out there, so we’re just kind of proceeding as business as usual.”
Jones could play in up to four games this season while still preserving his redshirt eligibility. That gives the Huskies the option to preserve him until the end of the season, potentially for a Pac-12 championship game and bowl game appearance.
Jones played in 14 games last season, starting eight. He caught 31 passes for 491 yards and six touchdowns.