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Chris Petersen says TE David Ajamu out for season with knee injury, plus other notes

Chris Petersen’s Thursday meeting with reporters yielded a bit of injury news, as Petersen announced that third-year sophomore tight end David Ajamu injured his knee during warm-ups prior to Washington’s game at USC and will miss the rest of the season.

Petersen said Ajamu “planted funny.”

“That’s a hard one for us, because David was making such great progress,” Petersen said. “He really was. He was doing a good job. But we’ll get him back next year.”

Petersen also said third-year sophomore offensive lineman Dane Crane recently underwent a procedure to repair a back injury, though he left open the possibility that Crane might return before the end of the season.

More from Petersen on Thursday:

(How was practice this week?) “Practice was good. I think the guys feel good with how they played last week. so hopefully we’ve built a little skill and built some confidence. We know we’re going to need that against the Oregon Ducks.”

(You said the USC win would give you guys some ‘juice’ – have you seen that this week?) “I know this – it’s a lot more fun going to practice after a win than a loss. But I think the whole trick is, if you can just keep taking small steps forward. I think the way you do that is if you play well. I think the guys know when they play well. Sometimes it doesn’t show up on the scoreboard, but it’s got to be progress.”

(What are some of those steps you want to see?) “Well, I think it starts with practice, the mentality of going out to really get better. I think they were good this week, and then it translates to showing up to the game with a real sense of purpose, and then the final step is putting that all together and executing at a little bit higher level, and I think every guy on this team puts the tape on from last week and sees, ‘I’ve got to get better at that. I’ve got to get better at that.’ I’ve been saying for a long time, as long as we can continue to keep that mentality, and move forward, then eventually we’ll feel good about ourselves. We’re certainly not there, but we’re making progress.”

(Oregon hasn’t named a starting QB – does that matter to you?) “It really doesn’t. That’s all their deal, and we’re planning on playing an extremely explosive Oregon offense. Whoever the quarterback is, they’ve been explosive. They’re one of the leading teams in the country in scoring points, they run the ball as well as anybody, and they’ve got a really good play-action pass game. So to me, it’s the same ol’ Oregon team.”

(When you were an assistant at Oregon, was there something about the program there that would have made you believe they could turn into the machine they’ve been for the last decade?) “I think the one thing, one of the huge keys to that – I think when I was there, we just kind of took it one day and one year at a time, and you don’t look that far down the road. You’re just always trying to take the next step with your program. But I think the one reason that they’ve done it – I think there’s numerous reasons, there’s never just one reason – but I think one of the things is they’ve had such tremendous consistency coaching-wise there. From the head coach to the assistant coaches. I mean, it’s been a long time since I’ve been there, and I still feel like I know ‘em all really well. Half that staff was there when I was there. and I think that’s a huge key to their success.”

(Do you address the losing streak this week, or do you not because you weren’t here, players weren’t here, etc.?) “All that – we weren’t here. It’s really about the here and now. Even if the streak was reversed, it’s about this game. And so that’s really where our focus is. It’s like, are we going to play as good as we can play? And if we do, that’s what we can control.”

(Is everyone competing to play on the offensive line, or are some guys still banged up?) “No, I think everybody is competing to play, and that always changes day-by-day, game-by-game. I think this was a good week of practice and we’ve got a lot of guys rotating through there and competing.”

(Dane Crane had some kind of procedure?) “So he’s had a procedure going on. He’s had some issues with his back. And so he had a procedure and we’re hopeful to get him back relatively soon. You’ve got to be careful with those things. A lot of guys have had this procedure and still continued on, so we’re hopeful.”

(But you don’t think that’s season-ending?) “Not at this point, it’s not. Along those lines, we did have one unfortunate thing – we lost David Ajamu for the year. And we lost him for the year in warm-ups. Those things happen. Planted funny. At SC. So that’s why he didn’t play. That’s a hard one for us, because David was making such great progress. He really was. He was doing a good job. But we’ll get him back next year.”

(That was a knee?) “It’s a knee.”

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