Huskies coach Chris Petersen met with reporters for about 13 minutes this afternoon to discuss Washington’s 4:30 p.m. Saturday game at Oregon, among other things. Here’s what he said.
(On practice this week) "They practiced pretty well. You get to this part of the season, I think our job as coaches is to keep it as fresh as we can because there's just a lot of routine. And routine can turn to a little bit of staleness and those types of things. I think they're pretty focused and running around pretty good."
(On how do you keep things fresh) "That's a good question. It's probably more just our demeanor and just how we talk to them and those types of things. The process doesn't change a whole ton. The game plans change so that's enough to keep them on their toes. We're always trying to think of little creative ways to keep it fresh. That's the whole thing. If you don't have good energy. You know energy goes away if there's not creativity and freshness. And we're aware of that and we're trying to always figure that out."
(On it being easy to get team to rally knowing they're going on the road and into a hostile environment) "When they look at it like that, for sure. I think these guys are pretty good at one day at a time. It's not like they're looking past that. They know that we practice on Tuesday and that's a hard practice. We practice one Wednesday and that's hard. So they don't look so far. It's always in the back of their minds, but there's no getting around those days to really prepare."
(On if UW's approach changes considering Oregon's uncertainty at QB) "Their situation doesn't change us. Certainly the styles that we play and the schemes we see changes every week. Who knows who plays on either side of the ball so you just got to go defend systems and be ready to adjust and adapt."
(On why Oregon's system is so challenging) "First of all they got good players. They have as much speed as we've seen for sure. It's a semi-hard offense to replicate in practice because they go so fast. To get your scout teams up to speed, they can line up and kind of run the plays. But with the precision that they run them? That's a whole another challenge. So it is hard to replicate in practice."
(On Arizona game preparing UW for Oregon) "I think so. Hopefully we're prepared. We're back on the road in an energized environment - as much as anything we've seen so far. The only thing that would be close to it is what we had at home. But it's not going to be for us this time. Certainly the style with all the speed and spreading you out and those types of things. The scheme is different, but the style is similar."
(On Petersen's days at Oregon) "Let me say this, I was there so long ago it doesn't even really count. We all know this, it's a really hard place to play. But it's also a really cool environment. It's what college football should be all about. I mean these are the times like our stadium last week and going into a stadium like this. It's passionate college football. So that's always a cool thing and we can't lose sight of being involved with that."
(On if he stays in touch with Oregon coach Mark Helfrich) "I sure do."
(During the season?) "No. I don't stay in touch with anybody but my wife and these assistant coaches and these kids."
(On what kind of guy is Helfrich) "He's an awesome guy. He's a great guy. You know, I mean, I know what you're getting at. This is a nasty business. You guys can be nasty guys at times you know. I mean you got to write what you got to write. But he's a great guy. He's a smart guy. And like I say, it's a tough business. It's cyclical. Sometimes it goes well. Sometimes it doesn't . And you live week to week. So do we. We get how fast it can change around here. You just, all that we've done in the past doesn't matter. It's the next game. And that's the business we're in and away we go."
(On the early signing period proposal) “That’s a great question. I do think it’s time for some. I think the date, and when that is selected, is critically important. I think it can be moved too far forward, where kids truly are not ready to decide and commit. They think they are, but they’re not, and too many things change. I’ve always been in favor of that one that if we’re going to do it, it’s probably right before December, where the coaches can go out. Kids have had a chance to visit. It’s a month or so away from the normal signing period, but if kids want to sign then and they’ve had a chance to visit and make a decision, I don’t think that’s too far away from what we have already. That could save a lot of time, energy, money, because what happens is, when the coaches go out, and kids are committed, that’s when the gloves come off and it gets ugly and guys are trying to get your guys to decommit when the coaches get face to face with them.”
(Wouldn’t an early signing period just move the entire process up even farther?) “Well, what are we talking about here? We’re talking about Dec. 1, as opposed to … two months, or something like that? I think you’re in the ballpark there. It could have a little bit of that effect. But it does make sense to me. If we’re going to offer and these kids are going to commit, does it really mean something? I don’t know if anybody really has the answer until you try something, and you have to be ready to adjust and move a little bit.”
(What about the proposal of a 10th assistant coach?) “The signing period we talked about for a long time. Keep hearing flashes and rumors of the 10th assistant. I don’t have a super strong opinion on that. Certainly, you can always use more help, more coaches. We’ll just kind of see how that goes. I haven’t really had enough chance to digest that one.”
(Where would you use a 10th assistant coach if you had one?) “I think the thought behind most of it is, where most guys are thinking, is that true special teams guy. But you don’t have to do that. So I think that’s a whole other thing – if we got another coach … rather than just going oh, yeah, let’s just make him our full-time, and that’s all he does, special teams. I think you need to think about it and go, well, do we like how our special teams are being run now? Maybe we can use it somewhere else.”
(On Jeff Tedford’s contributions so far) “He’s awesome. He really is. He’s been great for me, like I said, as the head coach. I knew that was going to be. We can have conversations that’s hard for anybody else and me to have, just because of where he’s been. He’s so great because he’s done so many things and he just fits in. He’s an advisor to us and he does it the right way. So I think everybody’s really comfortable with him. He’s been great.”
(How hard is it to keep him away from the practice field?) “Well, let me say this. That’s another beauty of this thing. He’s been a head coach, so he knows the rules. He gets it. He was coming here under no illusion of exactly what he was going to do. So for me it’s been great, because he gets it. He gets it all. I’m not coming to him reminding him of anything. He comes to me and reminds me of stuff. And so that’s been great.”
(On Tedford’s future) “I already know, he’s got a lot of coaching left in him, for sure. He’s going to get that opportunity. I think it’s really great for us to be able to have somebody like that around us, and I think it’s great for him to be able to take a completely different role, approach, pressure, all those different type of things. So I do think it’s a win-win.”
(On Oregon’s defense) “Well, I do see this, we just always study tape in terms of structure, scheme, how to attack it, who their playmakers are, when they’re playing t their best. They have all that there; they really do. This is such a game of momentum and confidence. I say that every single week and it can change rapidly on us. You just prepare from the things that you’ve seen best on tape and you hope that your kids are mature enough to look at the same thing and our guys have been. I think we all know how this game is going to go. It will be a hard, hard fought contest.”
(How much have you prepared your player for noise this week?) “We did the same thing - we do it every week. We don’t go out there ever were it’s quiet; that’s just not the football we play in. You emphasize one side of the ball depending if you’re home or away. We emphasized the heck out of it for the offense when we went to Arizona. You saw, we had some issues with that as well. It’s a hard thing to really prepare for, although every snap has basically been prepared with some noise.”
(On the defense being able to hear this week) “They can here, they can here. Oregon counter that with the tempo. What’s the distraction when you’re in their stadium? It’s just go fast, go fast, go fast, and that can wear on you.”
(Will you sub a lot against Oregon like you did against Stanford?) “We always try to play guys and we usually do play a fair amount. You’re not going to be subbing every play. They don’t allow that just in terms of their tempo and stuff. We’re ready for that as well.”
(Is there a correlation between recruiting and the team’s recent success?) “Without question. It’s all about recruiting. You’re not going to win games without really good players. Let’s just start and stop with that. You can have whoever in here coaching. If you don’t have good players you’re not going to win. We have good players. It always traces right back to bloodlines of college football, which is recruiting.”
(Do you think more doors are opening with the recent success?) “Yeah, you know, I do. I think we’ve felt really good about our recruiting process since we’ve been here. Sometimes it just takes a while for things to come together and guys to grow up and get the players and all those things. But we’re felt really good about it since we’ve been here. That’s one of the - I think Washington has a ton to offer besides football.”
(On staying relatively healthy) “It’s just luck. That’s all it is. I don’t know what else to say. Sometimes it’s like, really? We’ve stayed relatively healthy and that’s always going to be one of the keys for anybody. Here’s the hard part about it; you can get all your guys injured, which a lot of teams have a lot of guys injured, and no one cares. You still have to figure it out. Even though it’s a huge factor, no one even kind of cares. That’s another reality of this thing that we do.”
(Is it special to see a lot of Husky fans traveling to Eugene for this game?) “Yeah. I think it’s great. I also think that’s one of the neat things about our conference. It’s not so spread out. I think people take that a little bit for granted. The conference that I was in before, and conferences, it can be all over the place. And that’s really hard on fans. So to be able to catch a quick flight or drive in a half a day, I think that stuff is important and I think it makes it good for college football.”