My first discussion point involves Chris Petersen's decision he faced in Hawaii territory near midfield. Washington had just asked for a measurement when they had picked up 6 yards and two feet on a third and seven. Initially Petersen had the body language of a coach that was raring to go for it and send a message.
After seeing what he thought was a Hawaii linebacker blitz into the running play that was called, Petersen used a timeout. By the time he sent his team back onto the field, Jeff Lindquist and the offense were still standing next to him. Korey Durkee instead was sent out to pin Hawaii deep and remove the burden from an offensive line that was less than impressive to that point.
The message that was sent in that moment was that this coaching staff and this team are still learning how to trust each other.
Petersen told us after the game that, "I really wanted to go for it....I wasn't sure if they were going to bring a blitz so we wanted to play it a little safer and make them go the length of the field. A little bit of that is on me as we'll. We have to get a little more confident in each other."
Clearly Petersen wasn't ready to put his veteran offensive line into a position where failure could've proven disastrous, so he bailed them out. He took them off the field and let them regroup.
He didn't trust them to get that foot.
That will change as this staff learns more about this team and as this team learns more about this coaching staff's expectations. I expect it will change even next week. Petersen said as much, stating "we got down 10-0 and we were playing NOT to lose. As coaches we need to do a better job of (preparing), and I think you will see that."
The other thing that stood out was the fact that this was Jeff Lindquists game from start to finish. After a very sharp first half, he struggled mightily. But coach Pete was never going to go get the hook. He was comfortable with Lindquist in that he knew that the ball would not get turned over.
"In the first half I thought Jeff did a solid job. In the second half....things aren't going so well and he hasn't played in a long time. And that's hard. When you haven't played in a while it can get confusing. He had to go through some things and that was probably good for him."
Lindquist was only able to complete two throws in the final 30 minutes but going to Troy Williams was never a thought.
"It never came up," said Petersen. "We knew there would be some rough patches."
I think not only did Petersen want to make sure Lindquist wouldn't panic but, I also think that he saw enough of the immensely talented Williams in camp to deem it too risky in that game to go with the younger, more aggressive quarterback. Williams would have much less hesitation in trying to force a ball where it could lead to a costly turnover, and I think that on the road in game one of a new era, Petersen wasn't ready yet to place his trust there.
I expect these issues to go away over time, and rather quickly. This is a coach who has been around the block and knows what he is doing. I also believe that this Husky team will answer the bell and use this first game as a wake up call. They have a long ways to go.
Petersen did feel comfortable enough to make a change at punt returner, putting Marvin Hall in place of Jaydon Mickens when he felt the ball should've been caught instead of tentatively watching the ball roll deeper into Husky territory. That showed that he trusts Hall.
The fortunate thing is that the wake up call came in the form of a road win, no matter how ugly.
Game two cannot get here soon enough.
Dawg Bytes - Hawaii
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