Here’s everything Huskies coach Chris Petersen told reporters after Thursday’s practice at Husky Stadium.
(On camp being over) “Camp is long from officially over. We’ve got a lot of work to do. I guess maybe it’s over for you guys, but not these guys.
(On Wednesday’s closed practice) “We practiced yesterday, had a good practice yesterday. We’ll scrimmage a little bit tomorrow. We had a good, hard, spirited practice yesterday. It was good, a lot of good work. Practices like that, coaches are excited. Not all clean, but work is getting it done.”
(Do you make a distinction between camp practices ending and season practices beginning?) “Yeah, we do. We’ve got a few bonus practices, we call them. Kind of get the guys, put them through the motions not exactly what a Tuesday practice would look like, or a Wednesday, but we get close to it. So we’ll do a couple of those down the road, and then we’ll go Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday-type practices. So we remind the old guys what they look like, and the new guys, we teach them what they are.”
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(When does install/fundamentals slow down?) “The fundamentals never stop, for sure. The install does slow down, for sure. We’re getting there. we’re really at the point in the camp where there’s just a ton in, so as soon as you go even to the 2s, there’s a lot of confusion there, because there’s just a lot of things in. so that does start to slow down real rapidly in the next handful of days.”
(More on practice changes close to start of season) “I think what happens a little bit more is your 1s and 2s are going to get more reps, and the 3s will probably get less reps.”
(Same for the QBs?) “Same with the quarterbacks, yeah.”
(Have anything new on them?) “I really don’t. I don’t have anything for you guys, and that’s the honest to God truth.”
(More on the QBs) “I think what we’ve seen, is we’ve seen flashes, where you’re going, ‘OK, they can do it.’ And then at times resort back to maybe trying too hard. We’re not just taking what the defensive gives them. Taking what the defense gives them may be throwing the ball right into the bleachers. You see that on occasion. You’re carrying the ball for all of us, so if it’s not open, throw it there. that’s a really good play. Nobody else in the stands is going to think it, but we are on the sidelines, because we lived to fight another down. So just those type of things.”
(How has that accuracy, etc. been?) “Sporadic. Some of it’s been good, and some of it needs to improve. I think you can say that across the board. Pocket presence. All those things. Accuracy, decision-making. It’s still just always a work in progress, and at times, very pleased. We see some high quality reps. And the whole thing to this is just how consistent you can be to put this together.”
(On scrimmages vs. practices) “They matter. They certainly matter. Probably a little bit more than a practice, because we’re not out there helping them. They’ve got to go. And we only get so many opportunities to do this, so it’s good to see what we’ve got.”
(on special teams and guys emerging as returners) “Returning-wise, we’ll just have to kind of see when we go (live). It’s hard to get those guys a lot of really good reps. We might get a couple real reps tomorrow, but that’s really about it in terms of tackling returners and those types of things. … But all the guys back there are our best guys with the ball in their hands, and so we feel good there. (If) the guys up front — who, to me, they have the hardest job — hold their ground a little bit, we’ll get some things done there. Same thing with our kickers; they’ve been pretty solid on the field-goal stuff. I think our punting game needs to tighten up a little bit, but we spend a lot of time working on that there’s still a couple weeks here.”
(on special teams in general) “I think it’s important to everybody these days. Maybe eight years ago, 10 years ago, certain teams spent more time on time. I think everybody does now. I don’t know a staff in the country that doesn’t maximize and sell their guys on how important it is because you’re splitting hairs on all this stuff. You’re trying to figure (where there’s) a slight edge somewhere, and hopefully it can come in the kicking game.”
(Some guys who have taken a step forward in camp) “I think Cory Littleton is playing at a high level. I think Feeney’s playing at a high level. I think Azeem Victor’s playing at a high level. Budda’s playing at a high level. I think all those guys there are doing a pretty good job on defense. And on offense, I think Jaydon’s doing a nice job. Dante’s doing a good job. Our tight ends are playing well. The O-line, we’re still piecing that thing together and you see some good flashes. I think we’ve got some pieces there; we’ve got to get those guys all together playing as one. I think there’s some encouragement there. The running backs are a little bit harder to tell just because we haven’t done a ton of live stuff there. That’s a little bit like the field-goal kicker; I mean, it’s all good until it’s live. Can you break a tackle and all those things?”
(Curious about the other safety spot opposite Budda?) “Yeah. I think our safeties have been playing pretty well. I think Zeke and Jojo and Brian Clay and Trevor and Brandon Beaver - there’s some good players in there and all those guys have made a step. I think that’s going to be an interesting combination back there and I feel decent those guys are improving and progressing.”
(Coach Lake said he thinks a few of them will play) “I hope so. Again, I like to play a lot of guys. I think that helps them stay motivated for practice, I think it keeps competition. You’re going to need them, you’re building depth. So I hope so.”
(Turner and McIntosh - long-term injuries?) “No. Those guys will be fine.”
(What have you seen from the defense in general, especially the d-line?) “I think they’ve been playing pretty good, I really do. Flying around…we’ll seen when they can put 80-plus plays together, so we’ll need some depth there. If they can continue with that ‘one play at a time’ mentality and fly around…at times it’s looked really, really good. But like we always say, all it takes is one little breakdown and there’s seven points. But it’s been pretty solid. I think they are getting better.”
(Feel like you’re laying in the weeds a bit considering the national perception that this team will struggle?) “It’s just about one day at a time, staying positive. Really competing. Is this crew mature enough to weather a little bit of a storm? It’s going to happen, who we play. We’ve got the toughest schedule in college football. It’s tough football. If these kids stay how they’ve been out here the first two weeks of working hard and supporting each other… the only thing we’re going to continue to do is get better. That’s all you can ask as a coach.”
(Kaleb McGary getting some reps with first team…how far has he come?) “He’s like a lot of these guys, they have tremendous ceilings. He looks a lot different than he did last week, which is kind of wild. That’s what we’re talking about. Guys will rapidly continue to improve and the more that can happen the better off we’ll be as a team.”
(Don’t think you’ve ever played a true freshman along the offensive line before) “Yeah. The game has changed, and who we recruit has changed. We’re going to play our best guys. And if that’s a true freshman, then he plays.”