Huskies Insider Blog

Quoting Chris Petersen on clock management, inconsistent offense, slow starts and more

Huskies coach Chris Petersen met with reporters for about 18 minutes on Monday to recap UW’s loss to Oregon and look ahead to Stanford. He also addressed the status of quarterback Jake Browning (sort of) and answered some clock-management questions.

(Opening) “I’ll just start by saying, certainly a disappointing loss. I think our defense played really well. I think Vernon Adams once again hurt us with his scrambling ability. I think our defense did a good job stopping the run, slowing those guys down, running the ball for a lot of yards. That was manageable. The only thing that was just a little disappointing was him getting outside. He does such a great job of keeping his eyes downfield and finding guys, and those receivers were on point to take off and come back and help him out. That was frustrating. Had we been able to cut that in half, it could have been a little bit different.

“On offense, still sporadic. Some good things in the run game. Jake threw some nice passes. Really did. But overall, little disappointing. Oregon is a good pass-rushing team. They can get pressure on the quarterback, which they did, but it was one of those games where we had too many self-inflicted wounds. Third downs were disappointing. Our penalties hurt us. They were untimely. We only get so many opportunities. We had an opportunity to make a play in the end zone. Didn’t make a play there. So it’s a little bit a story of the offense right now, just at times great flashes, and at times frustrating and inconsistent. But I will tell you this – always have been really pleased how hard these kids play. They play really, really hard, and we’re halfway through the season, and if they can continue that mindset, which is easier said than done – it’s a lot easier when you’re winning a lot of games and those type of things to come out fired up and excited and it’s all good, and the little problems stay little and the big problems can even go away. But they’ve done a really good job of practicing hard and trying to get better. We just need to get better quickly.”

(Update on Jake Browning?) “So he’s day to day, like all of the guys in our program, unless they’ve got a long-term thing.”

(From a physical standpoint, is that an injury that maybe doesn’t happen in two years?) “Well, possibly. Probably the one time he didn’t need to escape out of the pocket. We had somebody open he was actually trying to find, he just couldn’t see him. So he flushed out of there and got knocked to the turf. And so, you know, maybe down the road he does find that guy. But he does a great job of finding guys. Things like that are going to happen. You’d like him to maybe just (throw) the ball out of bounds and not take that hit.”

(Would K.J. Carta-Samuels be the starting QB if Browning can’t go?) “I think we’re still kind of looking at that and figuring that out. K.J’s kind of been taking some of the 2-reps, but Jeff’s (Lindquist) certainly in there, and I think if it comes to that – we’ll kind of find out tomorrow exactly where we are – they’re both going to get some pretty healthy reps, I think, if Jake wasn’t going.”

(On addressing slow starts) “I don’t know. I really don’t. We look at it all the time. We try to move up some of the things we do offense vs. defense early on, those type of things. We’ll challenge them again tomorrow about starting quickly and getting out of the gate and getting something going. I don’t know why there are certain trends that certain teams kind of get into, whether they’re fast-starting teams or halftime teams. We haven’t put our finger on that, but we’ve certainly got to try to do better out of the gate on offense.”

(Have you had teams start slow like this in the past?) “Yes. We have. And we’ve started practice differently, dramatically changed it. We’ve had teams that come out of halftime sluggish. So you’re always trying to address those things as coaches, and I think it’s more of a mindset thing when you change it in practice. But just to address it and try to do something.”

(But you haven’t seen anything specifically on tape that indicates a pattern?) “No, and like I said, if we had that, we would certainly fix that right away. I think some of it has to do with youth, I really do, of going out there and guys, before they get settled down and get into a groove, I think that has something to do with it.”

(On passing game not being as effective in Pac-12 play) “I think it’s a combination of some things. Like I said, let’s start with who we’re playing here. It’s a pretty good league we play in. and I don’t think it’s just pass coverage and I don’t think it’s just up front. It’s a combination. Guys have some pretty good pass rushers and it seems like everybody’s got kind of a special guy in there, or a couple-two, three guys that are really pretty solid. And then you couple that with some pretty good athletes in the secondary. So it’s not any one thing. it’s just we’re seeing some teams that ply a little bit better defense. And so we would like to be more explosive there without question, be able to try to throw that ball down the field. That’s one thing that hasn’t really been how we like it.”

(On the last TD drive and clock management) “We always go back and analyze every single call and everything that happened. If we had to do it over again we would like to go a little bit quicker, but one thing we knew we had to do was get a touchdown, or that game was certainly over. So we didn’t want to go into total panic, two-minute panic. We wanted to run our best plays. Maybe looking back we take off some shifts and motions to go a little bit quicker in terms of what we can do as coaches to maybe help that along and save a little bit of time. But we were conscious of let’s make sure we have our best stuff to get a touchdown here. Or it’s not going to matter what happens after that.”

(Is Zeke Turner the next guy up for Brian Clay?) “Zeke and Jojo Macintosh - both those guys. So we’ll see, let ‘em go this week and compete in practice and get those guys going.”

(More emphasis on the targeting/strike zone issues?) “No, not more because we emphasize the heck out of it. In both those two targetings, they really were different. Azeem’s was something around that quarterback; we can easily help ourselves there. Brian’s to me was a bit scarier because it’s a little bit of that reaction thing where a guy is going in to make a tackle and sometimes drop their eyes and head and you lead with the crown of your helmet. And those can be scary, scary shots. We’ll continue to emphasize, continue to talk about it without question.”

(What’s your analysis been of the issues with third and short?) “I think we should be better. Third and short, you kind of play the percentages there. We look at all the numbers that come out and our percentages…1 to 2 (yards to go) you should be in the 75 percent range, 3 to 5 should be a certain range and those things. We need to be better there and it’s kind of frustrating because it’s always been on offense a fun down. You can do different things with it and create some things. But we haven’t executed like we needed to. We had a third and short that we got stopped on that we’ve worked on for a while. We had it; we didn’t hit the hole where we needed to. It was exactly how we thought it was going to be. We just didn’t execute.”

(Over the years, have you seen that it’s a benefit in those situations to have a 50/50 run/pass balance to keep defenses guessing?) “Not so much run/pass. You get to that mark where it’s like, you’re throwing it here. Every now and again you go run it on a third and five to six, whatever…it might be two downs. You have to do that sometimes to where we’re not always throwing it. Some other things you have to do is throw it downfield a little bit because everyone’s going a yard past the sticks, that’s a real strong tendency a lot of offenses will do. So you have to break some tendencies that way and we do pay attention to it in terms of mixing it up.”

(On the Oregon fumble that was overturned, could you have gone faster to beat the replay?) “They are going to look at it; they aren’t going to let you do that. Most of the time they aren’t going to let you do that. They did it to us a couple of weeks ago and we called time out and then they…but most of the time they’re not. The official is standing right there. They are trying to slow it down so they can take a look at it upstairs and get it right. Would you like it to go right out there and snap it? Yeah. But I think they stop it anyways. It’s been our experience in the past.”

(Second-straight 100-yard game for Myles Gaskin; getting closer to being the guy?) “I’ll say it again; we need a couple backs without question. But we’re really proud of Myles and pleased with him. The guy’s got really, really good vision and he does a nice job of picking and choosing his gaps and the holes that he’s going to hit and he’s pretty good at breaking some tackles and getting extra yards. We keep saying that if our o-line can cover guys up and give ‘em a little fighting chance you can see what he can get done. Our o-line did a pretty good job running the ball. The one thing is, we’d still like to be a little more consistent. We’re not unrealistic that every ball is going to go for 20 yards or those type of things. To not have those zero-yard gains and those type of things, like to eliminate some of those and stay more in the positive realm there. But I think we’ve made some strides there. We’ll be tested in a lot different way this week with this defense. But for the last game in the run game part of things, we made a few strides.”

(on calling timeout before punt) “We didn’t have enough guys on the field. Hindsight, again, probably should’ve taken a 5-yard penalty. Trying to really play a field-position game, so every yard matters, all those things. But one of our young guys that’s been in there most of the time was on the sideline while we were punting.”

(on challenge Christian McCaffrey presents) “I mean, that guy, he’s amazing. He’s really, really good. He’s their guy. He’s that tailback they’re going to feed and then he’s equally as good on kickoff returning, equally as good as a punt returner. I mean, that guy’s — you get a guy like that and you’re trying to make sure you can keep him in there and he doesn’t take too many shots and get worn out, and that doesn’t even faze him. They’re going to get the ball in his hands and he’s good. He’s fast. He’s got great instincts. He’s just really tough.”

(Is this the best offensive line you’ll see this year?) “Yeah. And then you complement with (McCaffrey) and it is a — that’s why they’re doing so well. It’s a nice combination for someone to have?”

(Do you spent much time with the tape of Stanford’s loss to Northwestern? Stanford a completely different team now.) “I think that’s just how it is sometimes. Sometimes guys just don’t play well for whatever reason. It’s the first game, there’s a lot of adjustments; I think clock wise, it was probably a 9 a.m. kickoff for those guys and all those different things. So who knows? You don’t really pay too close attention, but you look at the tape — why that happened. There’s always a multitude of reasons.”

(On the general offensive playcalling and strategy at midseason — what’s your evaluation through six games?) “I mean, we’re trying to put our guys in the best position they can to make plays. Trying to figure out ways to score more points, without question. That’s the bottom line. But we’re trying to stay balanced and we can’t put it all on our quarterback, can’t put it all on our O-line to pass-protect him and those things. So we’ve got to pick and choose our spots, and when we get a chance to strike downfield we’ve got to be able to make a play or two. So we’ll just keep tweaking and analyzing. And that’s what we do all day long — trying to put our guys in the best position to be successful.”

(More on Gaskin) “It’s been a real nice surprise. One, a kid comes in here and you’re not even sure you’re going to play him right away. So we do that and he really has looked really good from the very start of fall camp. Practice sometimes is different from the games, so you get him in the games and he’s done some pretty good things each time we’ve put him in. So you really don’t know about any of these guys — how they’re going to handle that, how they’re going to adjust to the game, the big stage, all those things. We really thought he was going to be a pretty good player — we just didn’t know the timeline. Sometimes with running backs, the unanswered question — the thing that’s hard to tell until you get them here — is truly what time of vision they have. And I think that’s the unknown answer to all those guys and he’s got really good vision.”

(Is Dwayne Washington still in ‘week to week’ mode after his pregame injury?) “Oh yeah, definitely. (To clarify: It’s not a season-ending injury).”

(Anybody else worse than that coming out of the Oregon game?) “At this point, everyone’s right there. It’s still Monday — we don’t even practice on Monday, so we’ll take a look at guys and make some decisions in the next day or two of what’s going on longer-term and those sorts of things.”

(Dwayne was hurt in pregame?) “Yes. … It’s kind of been one of those seasons with some of these types of things and some of these injuries we have had. It’s like, really? From Austin Joyner with his knee — he runs down there (on a kickoff) and it’s a noncontact thing. Quinten Pounds (out for the year with a knee injury), it was a noncontact (injury) in practice. He was just going through a drill. And (David) Ajamu pregame; again, no one touched him. Strange things. Frustrating, but part of the game.’

(What did you think of the atmosphere Saturday night?) “I thought the atmosphere was awesome. It’s really our goal to — we’re going to get this program back where we’re winning enough that everyone wants to come out. That’s the Husky Stadium that I’d always been so used to back in the day when that placed was loud and packed like that. I really appreciate the fans coming out. I think it’s fun for everybody, except for the final score. I get that; we all get that. But really do appreciate everybody coming out and making this truly the greatest setting in college football. It’s awesome when it’s like that. I hope it’s fun for the people in the stands when it sounds like that; I know our guys certainly appreciate it.”