Shortly after Washington’s 42-23 victory over Oregon State on Saturday, the Huskies turned their attention to the Apple Cup.
With a short turnaround before Friday’s game, they didn’t have much of a choice. And in between fielding questions abut the win, quarterback Jake Browning clearly laid out the stakes.
Since Washington and Washington State — the Cougars defeated Arizona 69-28 on Saturday night — would both have a short week, Browning said whichever team adjusted better would have the advantage.
At the time, at least, head coach Chris Petersen seemed to agree. The game will determine the winner of the Pac-12 North. Losing a day of preparation time, Petersen said Saturday, was “a big deal.”
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“It really is,” he said. “On offense, we are always trying to scheme and dream and taking a day away is tough. (Washington State) is a unique offense, obviously. It kind of changes everything we do on defense just because of their stuff.”
Mike Leach’s offense at Washington State is precise, Petersen said. It might look simple, but there’s a high level of detail and sophistication.
“(Leach) doesn’t have a ton of plays,” Petersen said. “Year to year, it looks the same. maybe a couple little tweaks. There might be a new route in there we haven’t seen. If he does that, he takes a route out because he’s not going to overload his kids. He’s as sharp as they come when it comes to football.”
By Monday, Petersen was downplaying the effect of a Friday game. When it comes to handling a short week, he said most of the adjustment happens on Sunday and Monday.
The Huskies had their normal Tuesday practice on Monday instead. So by the time Petersen sat down for his press conference at the usual time, UW was right back on schedule.
“We have some more stuff we have to get done (Monday) and tonight before we go practice from a coaching standpoint,” he said. “We’ve been planning for this for a while. It doesn’t feel too bad. We’ll see.”
Petersen said it’s more difficult to play two days short, finishing up a game on Saturday and then preparing for a Thursday kickoff.
“However we organize those days has to be done and we’re not going backwards,” Petersen said. “You have to get on with the next part of your game plan. We’ve been aware of that and kind of on top of that.”
As soon as UW’s game against Oregon State ended, linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven said the focus immediately shifted to closing the book on the victory and recovering physically.
“Obviously, we normally have an extra day that we won’t have this week so we’ll have to get through this stuff, film, everything (Sunday) and be on to (Washington State) by the second half of (Sunday) instead of Monday like we normally do. So that’s a little bit different but we’ll be OK.”
Said defensive back Jordan Miller: “No matter whether it’s a short turnaround or it’s a bye week, it has a lot of importance to us. We’re going to be ready no matter what. We’re going to be good. We’re going to go hard.”
As for holiday celebrations? Well, the Huskies’ Thanksgiving plans are simple.
“Practice,” Petersen said. “Come up here, eat a quick Turkey, get on a plane and go to Pullman. That’s how we do it.”