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What Chris Petersen said before Washington Huskies travel to play Oregon Ducks

 

Washington coach Chris Petersen held his weekly press conference Monday morning ahead of Saturday’s game with No. 17 Oregon (12:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2).

Below is a transcript of Petersen’s press conference.

Opening statement:
“Looking back to last week’s game, tale of two halves obviously. We kind of executed our plan first half and held the ball for a lot and defense got off the field quickly. Then they flipped the script on us the second half and kind of did the same thing to us. And then it can be a tight ball game real quickly. But I thought our guys played hard. A lot of guys very tired after that game ,when you get a lot of reps. It’s interesting because we had a lot of reps the first half on offense and I think some guys are tired and the second half it was the other side of the ball. They competed hard, played hard. We’re always learning some things from these guys and it’s kind of how it goes through the season. On to the next.”

On if UCLA did anything different in the second half?:
“Not really. They didn’t. They just kind of executed and the quarterback did a nice job of getting the ball out of his hands. They just kind of kept chipping away and keeping them in manageable situations. Threw a couple downfield but was kind of just chipping away.”

On what stands out about Oregon
“The defense, same, structure, scheme. Coach Leavitt does a great job there, so we’ve seen him for a while. And their offense is significantly different. A lot of the Pistol influence from Jim Mastro, who we’ve know him for a long time, was at Nevada with coach (Chris) Ault. So that’s much different. And they do a nice job and those guys are all playing hard. It’s an excellent team.”

On what stood out from second half against UCLA:
“Details. It’s always the details. It’s not any one thing, it’s all details thought. It’s not kids not playing hard, it’s not kids completely out of position, it’s just a little bit here a little bit there. You get tired a little bit. It’s like clockwork, it always is this time of the season – you’ve seen a lot of things and kids kind of know how it goes. But can you execute your technique and your assignment a little bit better than they can? And that’s really what it was. We didn’t have any blown coverages or anything like that or guys that were massively out of gaps. It was like, they executed at times a little bit better than we did at times.”

On if it’s harder to get a team ready physically, mentally or emotionally back-to-back weeks:
“It’s all that. I don’t think they are worn out or anything like that. I just think we were on the field for a long time the second half on defense. I think defense, you expend a tremendous amount of energy running sideline to sideline. If you’re going to see 12 and 15-play drives, that gets guys tired. It’s more that.”

On biggest aspect of preparation for back-to-back road weeks:
“In some ways it’s kind of business as usual. We’re on the road and it’s kind of the same thing. It’s not a huge deal in terms of during the week. The week is the same and then on Friday they’ll miss a little bit of class, that’s probably the biggest deal. Then we get down there and get ready to play and get right back — it’s a short plane flight this week and an early game. So that should be helpful.”

On how much fatigue led to missed tackles against UCLA:
“I think the missed tackles can keep you on the field longer. If you don’t want to be on the field longer, tackle better. You make some of those tackles, they don’t move the sticks. It all kind of goes hand-in-hand though. A guy is a little bit tired and doesn’t execute his technique just right and there they go.”

On the wildcat package with Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Kamari Pleasant on the field together:
“That’s usually been some productive stuff for us over the years. Just depending on the situation we get in, the gameplan and all that. But those are all good players and we like to get good players on the field together.”

On limiting player interviews to avoid bulletin-board material:
“I think it’s different these days. It feels so much different these days than it does way back when. In the good old days all coaches clamor for, before social media and a thousand reporters in our kids’ ears all the time. … You get something, that’s really the only form, somebody would say something. It seems like times have changed and the world that they live in is the media era anyways, so it doesn’t seem as big. I think the big thing with the media that I worry about with our guys is class. We get done at 10:45-ish and half our team has class at 11:30 and they’re trying to get something to eat and all of those type of things and it’s just very, very tight. That’s really kind of the big thing for us. Then certain guys just getting worn out on the media. The quarterbacks, the guys that carry the ball. I just think it’s like to give those guys a break can kind of help their mindset.”

On if he’s seen bulletin-board material rile a team up:
“You’ll see that now and again. In the old days, because you didn’t have to deal with the media and social media … Nowadays, I think every team pays closer attention to that, not just in terms of like, playing another team, but just your life in general, of just like, really, you want to put that out there? You want to say that about yourself? And all those type of things.”

On on-field effect something a player said could have on the field:
“A lot of times that’s like a great speech pregame. I think that wears off very, very fast. You’ve got to go play. Are guys going to be more motivated now to play harder? That’s what I always say to you guys. These kids play hard, they care tremendously. They’re locked in. They’re going as hard as they can. I don’t know if it’s much of a difference. I know it gets fans riled up.”

On the history of the UW-Oregon rivalry:
“I get the history. I get it as well as anybody, from my background. But I also think it seems like every week is just a huge game to us, like everyone’s got us circled and all those type of things. So that’s why we just concentrate on ourselves. That’s just our M.O., it’s like, OK, what’s this offense? What’s this defense? What’s this special-teams look like? How do we solve this? And it’s just about us bringing the right energy and preparing correctly.”

On playing Sean McGrew late against UCLA:
“You’re talking to the wrong guy. I don’t ever — Keith Bhonapha puts guys in. Myles had carried a lot. Myles is a warrior. Myles was our player of the week again, and he could probably be it every week, what that guy does. People just don’t realize until you put the tape on. Like we say, the pounding that those guys take and all those type of things. You think Salvon’s the next guy in and it’s not. We’ve got confidence in all those guys. I thought it was kind of cool to see it.”

On the last TD series with Gaskin:
“I don’t think it was necessarily a conscious effort, which maybe it was, by Bush (Hamdan). You gameplan during the week and you get in these situations and these spots on the field and that’s what you’re going to go with. It’s probably also pretty good coaching to get the ball to him as much as you can, when it matters most.”

On Gaskin’s shoulder:
“I see what you’re doing. He’s fine. He’s going to play. We’re good to go. Move on. Next question. I mean, really?”

On what makes UW-Oregon unique?
I don’t know. I really don’t. It’s been back-and-forth and I don’t know. Like I said, we got a lot of rivals. Playing Stanford’s been a heck of a battle and Wazzu for sure. Now with Justin (Wilcox) and some guys we know down there at Cal, every week is a big week.”

On playing at Oregon:
“It’s an awesome college football venue, for sure. Like I said, I think the kids, they like playing in environments like that. Whether it’s going back to Atlanta in a packed place like that or going down to Autzen, I think it’s a lot better than a half full stadium. I really do. You can hear better and all those things in those stadiums, but I think if you had your druthers you’d rather go into what it’s all about.”

On importance of a fast start at a place like Oregon:
“I think a fast starts are always important. I just stopped talking about it because every time I talk about it, it doesn’t happen. I think the guys know that. We try to come out with our best foot forward. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.”

On how much Washington recruited Justin Herbert:
“He was up here and we talked to him. He was hurt.”

On trickiness of recruiting Herbert while he was hurt:
“Very tricky. When we saw him up here, he was still recovering. He’s a heck of a player. There’s no doubt about that.”

On team having an edge in big games:
“I think it comes down to that competitive spirit and what kind of guys you have that’ll compete. All you can do is the set the table for them and how it’s going to be. I think they know. The better anybody does, the more people are going to pay attention to you. And so it is what it is.”

On Herbert in Oregon’s new offense:
“They run the heck out of the ball. They do a great job of running the ball. Anytime you can do that, you’re now a two-headed monster. You can’t just pay attention to a throwing team, and that’s not just what they are. They’re a running team first and foremost, with a guy that’s a great thrower.”

On UW fans rallying behind Browning’s pointing at Oregon defender in 2016 game:
“I don’t know anything about that. I have no idea what you’re talking about that our fans rallied around that. I didn’t like him pointing. We haven’t talked about it since two years ago. I don’t even know why we’re bringing it up now. Actually, I do know why you are, but go ahead.”

On how he decides when injured player comes out:
“You talk to them. It’s that simple. Guys get tired, guys get banged up, that’s hwo it is. These are tough kids and they talk to us and they want to be in there. But they also get it, maybe I’m tired, maybe I’m whatever. Could we put Myles in there? For sure. I didn’t even bat an eye. I didn’t know Sean was in there until he slithered in for a first down and that’s how it was.”

On if push from offensive line on QB sneaks was surprising:
“I think when you get that much yards sometimes it’s surprising. Sometimes a line can get off on the snap count and get their pads down. Those are probably a little surprising. You’re not really counting on getting that many yards but they did a good job of it.”

On if opponents are giving looks that haven’t been on film:
“I think that that’s football. I think that’s college football. Back in the good old days, the offensive teams really game planned and came out with new wrinkles every week. That thing switched eight years ago, 10 years ago where the defensive guys were like, enough of that, we got answers too. So you live in the bully syndrome: if you got a problem they’re going to keep picking on it until you stand up and fix it. That’s how it is in all phases. They study tape. We got more tape than we know what to do with in terms of studying. They figure out what they think your weakness is and if you haven’t done something well, they’re going to come back to it. That’s every week. That’s just football to me. That’s just game planning. Coaches aren’t going to just do exactly what they do. They keep the core the same and then they always have wrinkles off of it and that’s every week.”

On Oregon’s running back situation:
“I think it’s good. I think Verdell runs hard. I mean, that guy puts his pads down. That’s a little bit of the Pistol offense. It is a downhill, hard-nosed run game and he fits it to a T. We saw those guys in Nevada, they always had 1,000-plus yard rushers,and it’s because of that style. They find creases and it is a hard-nosed type run game. He’s really good in it. They’ve played some other guys as well that are good in it too, but he’s the guy who’s really done a great job with it so far.”

On giving true freshmen another look at playing time:
“… Yes, you’re getting deeper into the season where you’ve got this new rule — is this guy ready to go? Can he help us out somehow, some way? So we are looking at some of that. We were even last week as well; the situation just didn’t present itself.”

On if it it matters if it’s a road game to play a true freshmen?
“No. Not to us. It doesn’t matter road game, home game. It’s probably the position and then maybe depth into the season, in terms of where you want to use the games if you want to do it that way. That type of thing.”

On playing on grass at the Rose Bowl:
“I don’t know if that helped us or hurt us. It’s the second time all year we’ve been on grass, but it didn’t seem like there was a bunch of slipping or those types of things.”

On if having a bye week to prepare matters:
“Yes. Tremendously. I mean, you’re in the season and guys get rested up and coaches have all that time to watch stuff. It’s a help.”

On offensive line depth building:
“I don’t think it’s different than it was a few weeks ago. Guys are practicing hard and the two guys we’ve been rotating are Hilbers and Henry Roberts and Boomer gets in there at center now and again. Those are the guys that have seen significant time. But the other guys, we still have some other guys that are getting significant reps in practice, we just haven’t used them there. I think those three guys are the three I keep thinking about.”

On right guard Jaxson Kirkland:
“I think like anybody, I think he’s making good progress. I think there’s a lot of learning still going on, in a good way. I think with those freshmen and redshirt-freshmen, there’s a big learning curve. And he’s done remarkably well at a really mental position, let alone physical. Some people might know now mental it is.”

On pass rush against UCLA:
“That doesn’t mean you’re rushing three when you have three guys. I think they did a nice job getting the ball out of his hands. A lot of short pass game and underneath stuff. They did a nice job getting the ball out of his hands when he needed to, but it’s something we’re always paying attention to.”

On pass rush after six games:
“I think we always want more. We always want more pressure, but it is a cat and mouse game because if you bring a bunch of pressure, they’re going to get it out quickly and then you stop doing that they’re going to hold it and throw it downfield. So we’re always analyzing and trying to figure that one out.”
 
On Washington fans traveling to Eugene:
“Yeah, it’s hard to go on the road for sure and like last week at UCLA there was a really big Washington contingent. It was awesome. There was one time, I think a call was being reviewed and everyone cheered and I thought it went for UCLA and then I’m like ‘oh, that’s our fans. That’s awesome.’ Anytime you’re on the road and you can get people there it truly helps.”

On if he has to talk to guys about things get chippy:
“No. I mean I think the environment is something and we’ve been working on that every single week. Just on offense with the noise and all those type of things. But I think it’s – I keep saying it, I mean it sincerely – that’s the beauty of college football to go into those energized stadiums. I think it’s fun for the guys.”
 
On if it fires him up:
“I would like it to be a scrimmage and no fans and no media. That would fire me up.”

On if the season is a survive and advance mentality?
“Yeah, I don’t really know. It is just one week at a time but this is when I go back to all these rankings, all these polls. I think back to day one and it’s ridiculous. This is what happens. You get into the season and ‘how did that happen?’ That’s football. That’s certainly college football and you’ve got to let this thing play out. You guys know that, but that’s kind of the beauty of football too is all the hype and speculation and all those things and it never turns out like you think it’s going to, especially in college football. But that’s why as coaches we sit there and go ‘really, really you’re going to make a big deal that we’re ranked this when we haven’t played a game’ and you know how it’s going to go and how much you’re team changes, some for the good, some for not so good. And you see all these different and everyone is like ‘how did that?’ and we’re just shrugging our shoulders, ‘yeah makes sense to us.’ That’s how it happens.

On if he votes in the coaches poll and how he does it:
“Yeah. … It’s complete speculation and away you go. So now you get into the meat of the schedule and things have shaken out a little bit. I think even the next couple of weeks, now you start to get a pulse on who is doing what and who is healthy and who has got momentum and who doesn’t.”

On how much time he spends on the poll:
“Very little, very little.”

On how long it takes him to fill the poll:
“Five minutes. I mean you see what it is, who lost, move them.”

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