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Time to catch your breath? Not a chance, says Chris Petersen

It may be holiday season, but it’s hardly the time to stop and catch your breath. That’s the word from Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen, as he met with the media Sunday after it was announced the No. 9 Huskies would play No. 6 Ohio State in the 2019 Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

“We have so much to do in this month, we really do,” Petersen said. “That’s the one thing I think sometimes you can be fooled by when you look at the calendar. These days are going to fly by. We have so many things to do, starting with finishing finals for the kids and getting healthy and getting back into the weight room and our recruiting and looking at ourselves. There’s a ton to do. You can be fooled as a coach or a player. This is time to relax…it’s not time. This is go time now. You better account for every minute of every day or you’re going to be left behind.”

Below are Petersen’s full quotes from the press conference, as well as the full press conference video.

Opening comments

“Hadn’t changed. Still excited to go to the Rose Bowl and playing an awesome Ohio State team. Can’t say enough about our guys. Battled all year and ended up right where we hoped to be, playing a really awesome team in a big-time game that has so much history with this school and program. Really thrilled to be going back there.”

Memories of the Rose Bowl?

“There were probably 40 less bowl games, so this is the one you definitely watched for sure. Growing up I remember Washington playing in a lot of them. So it’s awesome to be part of this.”

Know much about Ohio State?

“Nope. I know they’re always good. And the job that Urban (Meyer) does and how he coaches. They’re always going to be a team that’s very elite, whether they’re in the four-team playoff, or right there. That’s kind of how he does it.”

How well do you know Meyer?

“I know him pretty good. I’ve known him for a while and I have a lot of respect for him. When I first came here I went back there and spent a few days with him and he was awesome to me. Just really appreciate him and the job he’s done and all the hard things coaches go through and all that. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and his wife Shelly.”

On Ohio State being one of the three teams vying for the final playoff spot…

“I think those things are hard because there’s three teams right there and you could make a good case for it. I know if you’re one of those teams it’s really frustrating. I mean really frustrating. You’re coming down to one game and this thing is so hard to be perfect all season long and that’s what it kind of comes down to, a lot of it. Because the rest is just subjective. That’s the system we’re living in right now and that can be hard.”

What about this day for you guys a couple years ago?

“Yeah. It worked out for us. If it doesn’t, it would be really hard.”

On the perception of the Pac-12 with only one team getting into a New Year’s Six game…

“All that stuff is hard. Washington State is a heckuva team. That’s why I’m proud of this team because the only thing we can control is if you win your league you know what’s going to happen. That’s all you can worry about is what you can control. The rest is just a bunch of noise and frustration. We play in the Pac-12 Championship game with two elite defenses and everybody’s down on that. But yet a couple years ago a couple of teams in the SEC are playing a 9-6 game and everybody’s saying this is a tough conference and great defense and this is how it should be. But not now here for us. You can’t worry about that stuff. You just have to go out and play and do your thing and control what you can control…

So it sounds like you believe part of this is based on perception…

“It is what it is. There’s so much perception out there about whatever. We just try and not pay attention to that. and just control what we can control.”

On waiting a month to play and how hard is that?

“We have so much to do in this month, we really do. That’s the one thing I think sometimes you can be fooled by when you look at the calendar. These days are going to fly by. We have so many things to do, starting with finishing finals for the kids and getting healthy and getting back into the weight room and our recruiting and looking at ourselves. There’s a ton to do. You can be fooled as a coach or a player. This is time to relax…it’s not time. This is go time now. You better account for every minute of every day or you’re going to be left behind.”

Will there be any time for them to relax?

“They will these next two weeks. It’s going to be all about school and they’ll get a little bit of lifting in and we’ll get a couple practices but they don’t need to be in here every day. And that’s going to feel quite a bit different to ’em.”

Is it good this time around to be playing in California, especially given how much you recruit there?

“I think so. We couldn’t be more excited about going down there. I think it’s awesome for our fans and certainly where we recruit and those type of things.”

How much does playing in the Rose Bowl help recruiting?

“I think if you play well it’s going to help a lot.”

Were you able to see a connection a couple years ago with winning a Pac-12 title and getting to a playoff game and that paying off on signing day?

“I think a little bit. I always think these things are a cumulative effect. That’s why I’m proud of these kids. This isn’t like a one-time thing. These guys are getting us to big-time bowl games and that’s when you can say something about your program. This isn’t a one-time thing, this is who we are going to be. Now whether it turns out like this every year or not, you have to have some luck and health and those things. I think this is why we all came here to Washington.”

Is this the time when you talk to them about that cumulative effect, the three-straight 10+ win seasons, etc….?

“We’ve hit that pretty good. They know that. It’ll be a really focused team moving forward. Nobody’s seen any tape on Ohio State, and you don’t really need to to know how good they’re good they’re going to be. That’s just to get the details. But that’s the kind of games you want to play in.”

Did Ohio State try and come after you when you were at Boise State?

“No.”

What’s changed with the defense the last few weeks? They’ve seemed to up their game to a new level…

“I don’t know. I just think we’ve been playing really well all season long. I think those guys are in a good groove and practice well. They’re confident, that’s one thing. Confidence is cash in this thing. When you’ve got it it’s worth gold and when you don’t you’re trying to get it. Have some good players over there and are playing at a high level and are confident about what they’re doing.”

What about that with respect to the offense?

“You put that tape on and you come off the field and you’re kind of shaking and scratching your head. Then you put the tape on and you’re like, we’re so close. We’re so close, it’s just frustrating as all get-out. We get in the red zone and get a penalty and a negative play and drop a ball and miss a field goal. You make a couple of those plays and the momentum just feels different. That’s how it’s been a little bit this season. We are close and we’ll keep grinding, we’ll keep working. It won’t be my words trying to motivate these guys. They see it. We have long drives, we hold the ball, there’s a lot of good stuff out there. We just have to be able to finish.”

How do you eliminate distractions before the big game?

“We’ll have some pretty good discussions about that and educate these guys. A lot of these guys have been to these types of games, so they understand and they know our message. That’s part of the trick. They are playing well. We really want them to enjoy this whole experience, how unique and how rare these opportunities are. But on the same hand, are we mature enough to really keep this thing in perspective and our priorities and what we’re there for.”


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