VIDEO: Head Coach Chris Petersen - 9/10/2015

Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen talked to the media Thursday before the Huskies' home opener versus the Sacramento State Hornets. Petersen talked about UW's struggling offense, Jake Browning's first home start, Deontae Cooper's availability, Trevor Walker's redshirt announcement, and more.

How did practice go? What optimism do you see from your group trying to run the ball better? - “We’re working hard, that’s all I can tell you. Let’s play the game to see if we’ve made any strides there. But the kids are working hard.”

Evidence of a sense of urgency this week? - “There’s a sense of urgency, they give us that. We’ve got a young squad that’s growing by leaps and bounds. You’ve got to go play the game to see if we’ve made any strides. It’s fine in practice. But they are focused, they are working hard.”

What’s the message to Jake Browning in his home debut? - “Same at it was the last week; you play a lot of football, one play at a time. Just keep learning and building. That message to him isn’t any different than to the rest of the guys. O-line, we’ve had one or two guys that have played a little bit, that’s the same message we give those guys, same message we give to any of our new receivers, DB’s, all those things. There’s not…everyone wants to talk about that guy, and rightly so - but it’s the same message to everybody.”

How has he responded this week? - “I wouldn’t know if we had played a game or if we didn’t. That’s just how he is, he’s always the same. I think that’s one of the things we like about him. He’s very much about ball, very much about trying to get better. He does a great job with that. Everybody wants to make a big deal about the youth; I think there’s something to it just because he hasn’t seen a ton of live reps - but you wouldn’t know by his preparation.”

Get a sense anything is different with the offense now that the QB job is settled and he’s getting the No. 1 reps? - “I don’t really feel that. I feel like it’s been business as usual. The other quarterbacks have been great. They are preparing like they are the guys as well, and it seems…that’s one of the things I kind of like. It seems like how it has been, so it’s not like some earth-shattering announcement. It’s just like hey, everybody’s trying to take care of themselves rather than thinking our quarterback’s got to make all the plays. We know our quarterback will make plays if everybody else gives him time to throw the ball and the receivers run the proper routes and depths and those types of things.”

On Sacramento State “I think you look around the country and the one thing that jumps out is everybody has great coaches. One thing with the Internet and the technology that we live in and that type a world, everybody just has such good access so I think coaches are studying year round. It doesn’t matter what level you are. Everybody has got pretty good coaches I think that’s the first thing. The second thing is I think that there are a lot of good football players out there. They have some very good talent. And then it’s about playing as a team. Who can play the best as a team? That’s where we need to get. We need to play as a team and get some things going. I have no doubt. I know what Sacramento State is going to bring. They’re going to bring tremendous focus, energy, and effort. They’re going to play well; they’re going to play inspired. You can see it with what’s gone on the first week or so. It’s really clear what they’re going to bring. What we need to do is we need to match all that.”

On is WSU losing to Portland State is a reminder to bring it against Big Sky opponents “I think we learn from everything, but it’s every year. You can just look at us last year playing. We had our hands full with a team or of their same conference. This isn’t lip service. They have good players, they have good coaches, they have good teams, they really do. Again, I go back to it’s never about the opponent. It’s about us. It’s just playing to the highest level we’re capable of playing. I know sometimes that’s a hard concept for everybody to get, but that’s how we try to look at it.”

On if running the ball will be an emphasis against Sacramento State after the poor performance against Boise State “I think it’s going to be whatever we can do to move the ball. We didn’t throw the ball very well. We didn’t run the ball very well. So, it’s whatever we can do to score points.

On improving off the slow starts UW suffered against Boise State last week and against Oklahoma State last year  “Last year’s team is completely different. The comparison you might make is we had a month off. We had eight months off. So it takes a while to get into a rhythm. The other thing is, Boise had something to do with that. That’s a good football team. I think you have to go play real reps, and hopefully we do start faster, but I think it’s completely different from last year.”

On if early practices will make the 11 AM kickoff more bearable for players “It shouldn’t be a huge deal. We don’t play many games at 11 AM, so it’s a little but different, but we do get up early around here, so it’s not an excuse for anything.”

On how the practice schedule will change once the school year starts “It will be in the mornings. We’ll bump it back a little bit; It will be a little earlier because they don’t have to run off to class right away. It will be a little bit different, but not much. The big thing is going to come the night before. Do they get themselves in bed fast enough, but we’re getting up kind of how we’ve done all year long.”

On if his involvement with the game plan has changed from this year to last “No it hasn’t. Everybody’s got responsibilities that they’ve got to take care of, and I have a lot of those too. There are some things that I’m involved with, but everybody’s got their job and away we go."

On confidence in defense - “I think we’ve got some good players over there. I do. It’s going to be us growing and playing as a group together, not having any big assignment busts. We had one of those in the game (against Boise, when the receiver dropped a deep ball) and that could’ve really, really hurt us. But I think if we continue to play with effort, energy we played (with) and great communication, really get dialed into the calls that we have over and over, I think this can be a good defense. Staying healthy, that’s going to be key. I think we felt good about those (guys) all along, but like I said it was one game and there was a lot of hype, a lot of energy. We’ve got to see if we can be consistent and (if) we can build on it.”

On Travis Feeney as the new BUCK linebacker - “I think Travis is an outside linebacker and that’s really what that position is. To me, I think (that’s where) he’s a little more at home anyways. He played that last year, he just played more to the field. So it’s really not that big a deal (compared) to what he’s been doing. Now, there’s some different calls, being in the boundary is a little different; he’s pass-rushing a little bit more, and that’s a little bit different. But I think he’s growing.”

On Feeney’s first game there - “He’s an athletic guy — he’s very long. He’s one of those guys when he gets his hands on you it’s hard get into him to block him. So he’s got a unique skillset. He can really run — he’s very, very fast. And he’s long. Those two things are things we like to think we coach, but we don’t: That has more to do with his mom and dad than us.”

On what he wants to see in terms of cleaning up mistakes Saturday - “I’d like to see our defense play with the same energy and emotion. I thought those guys for the most part were pretty clean; no glaring assignment errors. And be real physical. And on offense, I’d like to see us move the ball better and play more as a team and stay on the field a little bit longer certainly than we did against Boise — give us a chance to get into some rhythm.”

Anybody out who played last Friday? - “I don’t think at this point.”

Is Benning Potoa’e on track to redshirt? - “Yeah. There’s still some guys we’re deciding (about), but I think at this point that’s what we’re trying to do (with Potoa’e). I think you saw the guys that we did play and those other guys (like Trey Adams) that traveled and didn’t play, we’re still deciding. But again, that’s Game 1. We’ve still got to get through some other things before we decide on everybody.”

On Deontae Cooper’s status - “Questionable. We’ll see.”

On Trevor Walker - “Trevor, we’re thinking he’s probably going to redshirt this year. He’s got a redshirt year and with some of the other guys we have, that’s what we’re thinking.”

On Jomon Dotson - “He’s available. Ready to roll.”


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