Huskies Insider Blog

Quoting Chris Petersen on Hawaii, recruiting and autonomy among assistants

Huskies coach Chris Petersen met with reporters today for the final time before UW departs tomorrow for Hawaii.

Petersen said the team will visit Pearl Harbor on Friday, something he did often when his Boise State teams played in Honolulu. He also had some interesting thoughts on recruiting and social media.

(On being curious to see how they play) “I would say just that. I am curious. I think there are some guys that have played a lot of football and we have a lot of guys that haven’t played a lot of football. As a team, how are we going to respond? I know Hawaii’s going to play hard. I know Hawaii has some playmakers. It’s a long trip. There’s going to be adversity, all those things. I’m excited and curious to see how they respond.”

(Did you take these side trips before when playing at Hawaii?) “Yes. Absolutely. We wouldn’t go every time but we’d go maybe every other time to make sure everyone in that cycle of the roster would get a chance to see it. When we played Virginia Tech back in Washington D.C., we went by and took a look at the White House, then we went and saw all the war memorials. It’s always interesting because those players want nothing to do with that. All they want is to go play ball. I get it. Very focused. But after we do those things, they’re very appreciative, and I think they get it. I think they see the bigger picture. So it’s something that’s important to us as a staff.”

(Do you learn more about them on those trips?) “I don’t see it so much as us learning about them. I just think it’s important. Any time we can, outside of football, give them something that I think is important in terms of the big picture, we’re going to do.”

(What have you noticed about Jeff Lindquist and his demeanor?) “That’s one thing I do appreciate about Jeff. He’s always the same, and same positive, optimistic way. Whether he makes a bad play, he wants to hear us, he still wants to be coached. Half the time we’re in his ear when things don’t go just right, he already knows it, but he’s still willing to listen. He gets an opportunity, he’s not over the top. If it doesn’t go well, he’s not going to go in the tank. I think we all appreciate that about him.”

(What would be ideal scenario for Lindquist?) “Just that he plays at a high level. That he plays within himself. I think we know it doesn’t matter who the quarterback is, you’re not going to be perfect. You’re not going to make every play. And I think we all understand that. But just that he goes out and enjoys himself and makes the plays that he’s capable of making on a consistent basis, and really is a good decision-maker for the game.”

(Is Lindquist less hard on himself now?) “It’s hard for me to know where he was. But I think the majority of our guys are their hardest critic. And I think sometimes as coaches, we can forget that, just how they show it. Some guys really go in the tank, and that really irritates us as coaches, but we’ve got to keep in perspective here they care so much about what they’re doing here. They are their harshest critic. I think it’s a fine line for a coach to coach guys up, also build them back up. When you’re trying to critique them it’s a fine line. Part of their responsibility is to be strong and positive and resilient when it doesn’t go right. It’s always a work in progress.”

(Lindquist better option because he avoids critical errors?) “I think why we gave him the nod over Troy, we felt he might have made a few less critical errors. I think both guys made some very good plays. Troy may have made even more plays during spring and fall camp, overall. But I think one thing we want to do is not be a guy that has a bunch of critical errors at that position. At that position, we just can’t have that or it’s going to sink us all.”

(On Jaydon Mickens being versatile) “He really is. He probably could be a DB if that’s where his heart and soul was. He’s just got good athletic ability and skill. I’ve been very pleased with Jaydon. He’s worked his tail off out here. He has not missed a beat. There hasn’t been one day during this fall camp that we’ve gone out there and he’s like, ‘let’s go Jaydon.’ He’s got great energy, he’s come to work every day and I think he’s been really pretty consistent.”

(Did you see proper mindset at practice today?) “I think so. We’ve talked a lot about it, so now we’ve got to go experience it. I think that’s what’s always interesting. You try to plan for everything and even though you plan for everything, it’s not going to go like you think. So I’m anxious to see how we all do with that situation.”

(Is offense caught up to defense’s level?) “I will tell you in three days. I don’t know. We’ve practiced for a long time. It’s just practice.”

(Leaning on defense through first couple games?) “We expect all three phases to get something done. We really do. Now, where we are, we’ll find out. It’s not all about the defense, and it’s not about … the offense needs to score some points, defense needs to play good defense and get some turnovers, and special teams better get something done as well. That’s what we expect.”

(On football test to be given on team plane) “Every position coach makes their own test up in terms of personnel, some coaches have a one-page sheet, some have a three-page sheet. It could be our different calls, where they would align, their assignment, alignment, technique, those type of things. And most coaches throw in some fun type questions that have to do with Hawaii, those type of things. Keep them on their toes.”

(On social media in recruiting) “It’s just very hard. We try to stay in communication with the guys that we’re recruiting and we always want them to know if they have a question, there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the Internet about our recruiting, about what’s going on, and we always just want to reiterate, ‘ask us. We’ll always be honest with you.’ So don’t pay attention to anything else that has to do with Washington football unless it’s coming from us. I think the other thing is I think is a really tough big issue is, there’s more information out there about these young guys, so guys are offering these kids earlier and earlier. And it’s just really a crapshoot. So it’s forcing everybody’s hand to get into the mix earlier, and you don’t know how that kid’s going to develop. You’re projecting. You’re hoping his grades go well, he stays healthy, he keeps getting better. And I also think it can put a lot of pressure on the kid himself. All of a sudden, the kid is ninth grade, or even a 10th-grader gets an offer from wherever. Now everybody’s looking at him, now he has these expectations to live up to. I just think it’s a cycle that’s tough, that’s probably not heading in the right direction, in my opinion.”

(How does social media affect coaching staff with players on the team?) “That doesn’t really affect us. We do our own communication with these guys. We have our process and exactly how it’s going to go for us, and our coaches do a great job of doing the research on the guys that we’re looking for, those OKGs. And then we’re excited to get them here, especially when they haven’t been here, and just really show them what we’re all about. We’re not going to try to make ourselves better or different than we are. I want these kids to know exactly what we expect and what they’re getting themselves into, and when those values and behaviors and beliefs line up, that’s when the magic happens.”

(On looking for integrity in recruiting) “I keep saying this, there’s a theme that runs through our program. It’s bigger than football. It’s about life. Its about doing things correctly and we’ll use football, we love football, it’s a great game. We use football to help teach some of these things that are equally important. Plus, we want to be around good kids. I think it’s a two-way street. Kids want to be around good people and vice versa for the coaches.”

(On philosophy of not allowing committed recruits to take official visits elsewhere) “We don’t want a kid to commit to us unless they’re solid in the recruiting process, that they’ve looked around, that they’ve really decided, ‘hey, I can figure this thing out early and this is where I do want to go.’ Because it can be just nerve-racking, and then all these coaches continually pound on these guys, and there’s a lot of good places out there. And it just makes it confusing for them. I’m thinking, I’m an 18-year-old kid, or 17, sometimes these guys are 16, and you’ve got these professional, in some cases, used-car salesmen banging on them month after month. It gets confusing. It can be very anxiety-provoking, not only for the kid but for the family, and it’s hard. So they need to go through that. When they want to put an end to the recruiting process and commit, that changes our recruiting, and we’re good to take that commitment. But they need to understand it’s a two-way street.”

(Where did philosophy come from of allowing assistants so much freedom?) “Maybe me being an assistant. I think we’ve got really good assistants that know what they’re doing. I trust them as much as anybody in the world. And if they want my opinion, which some of them do, I’ll give them my two cents. But these guys are great coaches and I trust them. If they think that guy should play, and he should play a little more than him, that’s what we do.”

(Do you ever intervene?) “I don’t think since I’ve been a head coach I’ve ever had a disagreement with an assistant on who should play. I think we see things – we’re all trying to get the best guys on the field, I think we see things pretty clearly.”

(Is that normal or unique?) “In my mind, it’s normal. I don’t know any other way. There’s certain things I’m involved with and in some ways probably micro-manage more than I should, but in terms of those guys, who they think should play … we want to play a lot of guys anyway, so I know a lot of guys will hit the field, but to me that’s on those guys and I can help them if they need my help. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.”

(On DiAndre Campbell) “I think he’s a great kid, hard-working guy, exactly the type of guy we want in our locker room.”