Huskies Insider Blog

Chris Petersen on 34-23 loss to Utah: ‘Frustrating ballgame’

Here’s most of what Huskies coach Chris Petersen said after Washington’s 34-23 loss to No. 13 Utah on Saturday at Husky Stadium.

(Opening) “Frustrating ballgame, to say the least. Really hoping that we’d go out there and swing toe to toe with these guys, and for us to do that we knew we couldn’t give them anything easy. We were really hoping going in as coaches … and to have them basically (get) five turnovers, four on paper, one for a score, 24 points in the second quarter against a good team like that. You almost give yourself no chance. Now with that being said, our guys rallied in the third and played them to a draw in the second half. But that’s not going to be good enough against a really good football team like Utah. Disappointing. It’s a little bit like kind of how the season’s been going with some really good flashes, some good football out there, and then some really bad football with some turnovers and dropped balls. Even our tackling at times wasn’t what we hoped it would be. Still a lot of ball to play, and we have some things to clean up.”

(Close to a breakthrough in these late-game drives?) “We are close. And I think that’s one of the things that’s frustrating as a team. There’s a lot of closeness. It’s not good enough, (but) we’re close. We practice that a couple times a week and usually do fairly well and operate at a high level. But it needs to be a little bit cleaner in the games.”

(On touchdowns called back by penalty) “It’s crushing. That was huge. Having two touchdowns called back and then giving them a touchdown on offense, those are really hard to overcome, especially when you’re playing someone that’s really pretty good. To these kids’ credit, they fight hard, they play hard – no issues with any of that. We’ve just got to get better. we’ve just got to get more detailed. We’ve got to take care of the ball better. We’ve got to learn how to run rub routes and those type of things better.”

(Explanations on touchdown-nullifying penalties?) “There’s no explanation. It’s pass interference, it’s holding, and that’s what they say.”

(The one on Lenius?) “I couldn’t see it. I just saw Jaydon being open right away. So I really did not see it so it’s hard for me to comment even if I could comment.”

(Did you see the holding penalty against Coleman Shelton?) “I didn’t. I actually thought they were talking about Darrell (Daniels), and then they came back and said it was on Coleman. But some other people saw it.”

(On Joshua Perkins’ pass interference penalty) “You guys saw what I saw.”

(On a young team just not having the experience to win these games yet) “I think it’s just really frustrating to everybody. It’s frustrating for them, it’s frustrating to us, it’s frustrating for the fans. So that’s just the only way I know how to describe it. They’re working their tails off. We are making some progress. We just knew playing a team of this quality we couldn’t come in and paly sloppy. We might be able to give them a thing or two. You’re going to have a turnover or two, we get that. But dropped balls, turning it over and giving them a touchdown, turning it over again and it’s down to the five, eight, something like that – that’s just frustrating. Then you see at times on that side of the ball, too, it’s explosive, getting some things done, impressive, so it’s just a combination of tightening it up and cleaning it up, because next week’s not going to be any easier. Going on the road against the Sun Devils. They have a hard defense to go against. Blitz you every down and those types of things. We just have to get better.”

(On Budda Baker) “Well, he got dinged in the head. You guys could all see that. So we’ll just see.”

(On Trey Adams) “I don’t know. I think he’s OK. It wasn’t his knee or anything like that. He just got hit in the leg, so we’ll see.”

(On how he manages Dwayne Washington after two fumbles) “You know, that’s tough. Number one job for a running back is protect the football. Dwayne’s an explosive player, made a lot of plays for us, but we’ve got to go back to some ball security things and get that ball ratcheted in there and tightened up so it doesn’t happen, and he’ll go to work and we’ll work extra hard on it.”

(On Greg Gaines leading the team with 10 tackles) “We’ve got a lot of good players, so that’s why I think it’s frustrating when we don’t win. They’re just young. I think Vita Vea was in there getting some good knock-off, playing a little more extensively than he’s played. I think those are two good players inside. Greg, we’re proud of him for stepping up. And we do, we’ve got some good young players. We’ve just got to get better. it’s just that consistency thing across the board. Proud of how these guys work, proud of how they practice. The league we play in is really good – you guys know all this. So I can sit up here and justify things forever. We’ve just got to get better.”

(On missed tackles) “Well, I kind of felt like there’s one thing I think we could have done better on defense is tackle. A little bit of that goes to Booker. That’s his M.O. – he’s as good as anybody at breaking tackles, but a couple times, some runs, I don’t think we did a great job of wrapping up, and I think we can do a little bit better there. they keep pounding that guy, he’s going to get some yards, and it kind of wore on us a little bit. That’s a big offensive line we’re going against as well. So it kind of wore us down a little bit there late.”

(On Jake Browning doing a better job sensing pressure and getting out) “Yeah, I did. I thought he did some good things. Even the interception he threw, I know he’s going to learn from that, the little slant route, throwing it off the backer. He needed to wait until that second window – I know he had some pressure coming, so he needed to get it out of his hand. We’ll look at it on tape. He knows what he’s going to do. You’re not going to go out there and not have a turnover. I think he’s been pretty good for throwing into some tight windows and throwing some accurate balls. I thought he played pretty darn good, and we’ll look at the tape. But I thought he played pretty well.”

(On offensive execution aside from turnovers) “I thought we did some things. We had some explosive plays. We still ran the ball a little bit. I think you just take out – cut those turnovers in half, or just … yeah, just not the short fields. It was an 8-yard field, it was a touchdown, it was a 32-yard field, something like that. That’s just back-breaking. You can give them one. Not three. That’s going to give us a chance as well. And when you have that, it’s almost (like) you don’t have a chance against a good team like that.”

(On direct snaps to Myles Gaskin) “Just trying to figure out different ways to get him the ball, spread some things out. Nothing in particular other than wanting to get him the ball some more.”

(On the wildcat package with Jeff Lindquist and what needs to happen for it to work) “Yeah. We need to figure that out. And again, you’ve got one yard to get – we’ll look at the tape. It’s kind of a little bit of an option. He has a read whether he gives it or not. I think his read was probably correct. One thing is, Utah’s interior line is extremely explosive and strong. Watching those guys in their 3rd-and-1, 3rd-and-short package, we watched them for a long time trying to come up with some stuff that we thought had a chance. We watched all the games and watched those guys knock just about everybody they played backward in those situations, and so they kind of did the same thing to us. … Got knocked back.”

(Concern about disrupting rhythm by taking Browning off field?) “No question. We’ve got to look at that – is it being productive? We get in the Wildcat and not get anything done, we need to look at that, bring in different guys – I don’t think it’s necessarily on Jeff or anything like that. We’ve got to look at that … we’ve got to figure something out to be able to get a yard or two on a pretty highly consistent basis. Those have got to be converted. I think today we were better on a 3rd and 10 than we were on some of that other stuff. And so we’ve done some different stuff like that throughout the year.”

(Is there a process a team has to go through to learn to win close games?) “I think you’re probably right. There’s just so much ebb and flow with this team. We get so far behind and we battle back, and it’s right there, and it’s like OK … I think the first thing has to be, we need to learn to just play tighter the whole way and then figure out how to get over the hump at the end, rather than get knocked back and have to come storming back and momentum and all those things. I know we will. I know we can play cleaner. It’s really, really frustrating, I think, to everybody. It’s common sense stuff, and we just have to go back to how we work in practice in terms of cleaning up some of those things, bottom line.”

(On putting Tristan Vizcaino at punter after Korey Durkee’s fumble) “Well … Tristan and Korey have been battling pretty good throughout the year, practice wise, and we had some plans to get Tristan in the game punting wise even a couple games back. And after (the dropped snap) happened, wanted to give Tristan a shot, and we’ll go back in practice and kind of go from there.”