Huskies Insider Blog

Quoting Chris Petersen on road games, Kevin King and Ben Riva

Chris Petersen met with reporters earlier this morning for the final time this week before Washington's game Saturday at California (3 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). Most noteworthy: Petersen said he expects safety Kevin King to play after he missed the Stanford game due to an illness, and offensive tackle Ben Riva practiced the last two weeks after missing four of UW's first five games with a knee injury.

(Reasons for success after bye weeks) “I don’t think there’s any secrets. I think that guys get rested up and we try to refocus. If you look at most people on their bye weeks it’s probably better than naught when you’re going through the season. Our guys in the past have played well most of the time whether there’s a bye week or not. I don’t know if there’s really any secret at all. If I knew it, I probably wouldn’t share it. But I don’t necessarily know it.” 

(Any secrets you would share?) “What do you want to know? I don’t have many secrets.”

(Expectations going on the road after spending so much time at home?) “Any time you go on the road it’s hard to win on the road. I do. I think in this league it’s hard to win anywhere. But it’s different. The energy’s different. In some ways it’s kind of cool because you’re kind of away, but it’s hard to win on the road. And certainly, four weeks in a row…it’s that what it’s been? Plus the bye -- it feels different. We’ve talked about it, but that’s not good enough. We’ve actually tried to do a few things in practice with noise and lack of noise to kind of create our own energy. At least we’re focusing on it; the guys just have to go execute.”

(Travel routines?) “I think we like a routine. Now we haven’t been on the road for so long, the one time to Hawaii, which is such a different animal in itself that it’s hard to say we’re in any sort of routine. But we do like to be in a routine. We like to practice here and go look at the stadium, get to the hotel, rest up. So our routine starts over again tomorrow.”

(Like to have them dress up in a suit or anything?) “I like them to look sharp, but I don’t want them to be uncomfortable. We don’t do suits; we’ll put a nice Washington polo shirt on, some khakis - all looking good. Look good, play good - hopefully.”

(Good thing or bad thing to go that long between road games?) “It is what it is. You could make a case – we sure love playing at home, but you’ve got o play half your games on the road, so we have to figure out how to do that.”

(On so many players from California playing near home) “I think that’s a good thing. I think they want to play in front of their friends and family. They may see them a little bit Friday before the game over at the hotel, which is great. Hopefully that gives them peace of mind. Hopefully they play harder for their people. So I look at that as a positive.”

(On practice this week) “It feels like a long time. Feels like a long time since we played. I think those bye weeks are good, but it’s a long time, because you don’t play real football, for the most part. But I think they’ve worked hard. I think they’ve focused in, hopefully made some strides and improvements in all areas. We’ll find out.”

(Do you really learn more from a loss?) “I think it makes you pay attention to everything. I don’t think we’ve not been paying attention to everything, even when we won. We all feel like there’s a lot of work to be done. I think the players feel like that. So hopefully we’ve improved, somehow, someway.”

(On using “road dogs” mentality to their advantage) “I think we need to. I do. I think we need to use that (to) our benefit. Like we were saying over here, California, lot of kids are from there, OK, it’s going to feel different. It is going to be different. And different can be really good. I think at the end of the day, it’s all going to come down to execution and performance. And if they perform well and execute with precision and detail, then they’re going to feel good and like to be on the road down there around their friends and family.”

(On Pac-12 parity and games coming down to the wire) “I don’t think that — finishing and executing until the final snap, when you’re tired, which most teams are. I don’t think it’s any different than what we’ve been saying all along. I don’t. Other people might be saying, ‘Wow, there’s really a lot of parity.’ We’ve been saying that all along and I think you can just see it and I think it’s going to be interesting and it’s going to be the teams that can stay mentally strong throughout the season, not for one game. That’s hard to do. These kids invest so much into every week and every game that’s so emotional. Even if you win, you’ve got to come back to reality and if you don’t (win) you’ve got to pull yourself out of the tank. We’ve just got to come back to work and those are really hard things to do when everything is so emotional.”

(Sonny Dykes gave his guys some time off after so many nail-biters in a row. Does it feel like this could be another one of those?) “I think all these games are going to be. We’ve played one Pac-12 game and it came down to the final drive and had a chance. And I don’t think that’s been different, for the most part, across the board. I don’t think we can worry about that; I think we’ve got to prepare that things are going to be — I know this: They’re not going to be won in the first, second, third quarter. So we’ve got to be able to play our best late.”

(Do you expect Kevin King (illness) back this week?) “I do. He’s been practicing all week and we’re counting on it, and hopefully he’s out there flying around.”

(Will Marcus Peters start?) “He’s starting, yeah. He’s had a good couple weeks and ready to roll.”

(Is this the week you get Ben Riva back?) “I think he’s practiced both weeks. Coach Strausser makes those decisions, the position coach makes those. Coleman (Shelton) has been doing a really good job and I think Ben’s making progress, so we’ll kind of see.”