VIDEO: Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen Monday Press Conference - California Golden Bears

Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen spoke to the media during his Monday press conference about his team's performance in their 31-17 win over Utah State - specifically his freshman quarterback Jake Browning - as well as their next opponent - the California Golden Bears and their Heisman hopeful Jared Goff.

Opening - “Not significantly different from watching the tape. I thought our defense played really hard, did some good things. On offense I thought our pass protection was pretty darn solid and gave Jake a chance to set his feet and throw some decent balls downfield. Thought he saw the field pretty well. Overall we made some progress there. If we can continue to practice hard and improve that’s going to be so critical with this crew that we have, and if we can do that we can feel okay about ourselves.”

What have you seen in Jake Browning from the Boise game to now as far as progress, comfort level, confidence? - “It starts with the entire offense being able to stay on the field a little bit. When anybody gets into a rhythm, which he has done that a little bit, he can set his feet. He’s going to throw some good balls. I think he’s getting a little more comfortable being out there, feeling the rush, seeing different blitzes, those type of things.”

Did you expect him to have this kind of escapability? - “I don’t think that’s necessarily what we thought of being one of the strengths, but I think any time a guy can get some things done with his feet, especially when we know he’s a pocket passer, is always going to be a benefit. So I think he’s better than what we probably thought he was. We always talk about that; there’s going to be times when the defense actually covers things and we don’t have ‘em. If they can create a little bit that does make it awful hard on the defense. Utah State does a great job on the goal line and doesn’t bite on things and he keeps things alive. Those can be hard to cover on defense.”

What about the overall performance of the offensive line? - “I thought those guys did a good job. My hat’s off to Coleman Shelton. That kid played the entire game at left guard and he’s played there two days in his entire life. He’s played everything else. We’ve moved him kind of all over, even though he may not have shown up there yet in a game. But the one place where we really hadn’t had him was left guard. He did a great job and competed hard and we’re really proud of him. 

“But then those other guys, Sifa in the middle calling the signals, and those other freshmen, I thought they did a good job for their first time all out there together. Can we improve? Absolutely. Do we need to improve? For sure. But I thought the first time out of the gate they were pretty good.”

What did you hope to accomplish with those OL changes, and how close did you get? - “Putting our best guys out there to give us the best chance to win. So that was accomplished there. Even some of the other guys that Coach Strausser is rotating those guys that are backups…those guys are going to continue to get better. Shane Brostek's a junior but he hasn’t played a ton as well. Matt James in there and some of those other guys, Andrew Kirkland, hadn’t played. All those guys are going to continue to get better.”

What are your thoughts of the Pac-12 as you start conference play? - “I think it’s no different than I thought. This is a really, really, hard, good conference. Each week you’re going to see some really hard-fought games. Some of the scores are going to come out different than people predicted. I think a lot of it is going to have to do with how people stay healthy throughout the course of the year. But it’s exactly what I thought.”

What happened on the Jeff Lindquist fumble and will you continue to use that package of plays? - “They got a hand in there, one of those awkward deals where the ball popped out and got a good bounce and away they went. You know, we’ve got to be able to use all of our people in creative ways. I thought Jonathan Smith did a great job of being really creative with our offense. We had a really difficult, blitzing team that throws a lot of different blitzes at you, and he did some things to keep those guys off balance, and our passing game was explosive, so it’s going to be continually, how do we use our people to keep people off balance? Whether that (Lindquist package) continues or not will kind of be week to week.”

Is there a balance there with not wanting to take Browning off the field when he’s playing well? - “It depends what play we’re calling. Jake’s not better than some of our other guys at some of the plays, so we’ll try to put our best personnel out there.”

Run game still a concern, or do you chalk some of that up to Utah State having a tough defense? - “Whoever you chalk it up to, it’s a concern. We definitely need to run the ball better than we have. I could be a broken record all year. If we don’t run the ball better, I’m going to be saying the same thing. And so we’ll continue to work hard on it and continue to try to come up with answers for our guys and give them a chance to be successful. There’s no question it needs to get better.”

What do you see on tape with the running game? - “I really think it’s newness, newness of some guys being out there playing together. I do think from kind of where we were a couple weeks ago, we’re playing – like even playing Trey Adams, we weren’t even going to put him on the field a couple weeks ago. Now he’s playing 60-whatever snaps, so that’s a lot of progress right there. so each week we have progress. Yeah, they know their assignment now pretty solidly, but now can they attack their assignment, can they attack their guy. So we’ll keep working on that.”

On Budda Baker and Jake Eldrenkamp's injuries - “Both those guys will be week to week and we’ll just kind of see how that goes. They’re certainly not out for the season. Week to week.”

On Cal’s offense and Jared Goff - “Those guys are very, very good. I think that whole offense has taken the next step, next level … from last year. The line’s better, they’ve got a bunch of backs that run really hard, and (Goff)’s good. I mean, he’s really, really good. He gets it out really fast. He’ll hang in the pocket and sit on his back foot. That guy can throw it down the field 40 yards on his back foot, I mean, on a line. So they’re good.”

Is there any worry that Baker or Eldrenkamp could be more seriously injured than “week to week?” - “Week to week. That’s how it is. Week to week.”

Goff and Browning similar in the way they read progressions? - “That’s hard to say. One guy’s played three years, and the other guy’s played three games. And so it’s kind of hard to make that comparison right now. I think Goff is one of the best in the country, without question. So it’s kind of hard to make that comparison.”

What impresses you the most about Jared Goff? - “He can make all the throws, and he gets it out very quickly, but then he’ll stay in the pocket. And he can deliver the ball sitting on his back foot down the field. Most guys hang onto it (but) they’ve got to hitch up to get that ball down there. He does not need to do that. He had two really, really big runs, scrambles in the Texas game. So he can obviously run. He’s not a guy that can’t get out of the rush’s way. I think that’s why the NFL guys are so excited about him, because he’s big and athletic, but he’s a guy that hangs in there and throws it all over.”

On any differences he sees from Jared Goff from last year to this year - “I think their whole offense is different. They’ve been doing it now a couple, three years with a lot of those same players. I just kind of go across the board. I think their o-line and their run game is better than it was. Kenny Lawler, (Bryce) Treggs, and those guys have been around there for a while. They really execute that offense at a high, high level. I think it’s kind of all of them. All together, I think they’ve probably all gotten better.”

On California’s defense - “It’s still a little early, still studying and haven’t got to everybody yet. I think they’re much improved on that side too. I think it’s the second year with a system, and I think they’re playing better defense. In terms of the specifics and those type of things we’re still a little bit in game plan mode and I still haven’t got to all the tape I need to come up with a strong opinion on that. I do know from what I’ve seen that they look different that they look than they did last year.”

On if Jake Browning reacts to mistakes like a typical freshman “I don’t really ever get caught up in the ‘does he act like a freshman.’ You know ‘this guy’s like a first time coach. This guy’s like this age.’ Way back when I first became a head coach there was two coordinators that we hired that were 29 years old. I didn’t even know that until about two months later everybody was jumping up and down like ‘how can you hire guys this young?’ And it’s Bryan Harsin and Justin Wilcox. It just has to do with maturity. Experience is important, but what’s their demeanor? What’s their work ethic? How do they handle things? I think about that with Jake (Browning). He’s just kind of always the same. I don’t think of him as like a real young guy. Does he have a ton of experience? No, but he’s always been very mature ever since we’ve been around him, since he was a young guy in high school.”

On if Jake Browning comes to him to analyze mistakes or if it’s the other way around “It’s a little bit of both. I think it’s a little bit of both. Sometimes if it’s a blatant thing we’ll be seeking him out real quickly. But he’s always very inquisitive. The whole time he’s on it. He’s like analyzing everything coming off the field. Really that’s how it should be. Whether it was the play three plays earlier that he didn’t go just right, he’s always got a question. He’s always wondering and thinking.”

On if he or coach Smith talks to Jake Browning more “Jonathan (Smith) talks to him the most, without question. They spend the majority of time together. It’s probably better if those two guys talk. Sometimes when I’m talking to him I can see blatant things. It’s pretty easy sometimes to see it from the sideline when I’m not getting rushed and pressured and all those type of things. He’s got a good demeanor, but it’s going to get harder. The schedule continues to get harder. He’ll see some more difficult things. Teammates are going to have to step up for him and pass protect a little bit better. We’re going to have to run the ball and receivers are going to have to make plays to give him a chance. Everybody wants to talk to him; he’s done good things. But some guys around him have done some good things. As it gets tougher, everybody else has to help him out.”

On if there’s a risk of Jake Browning learning too much too quickly and overthinking “Yeah, I think he can, and not only for one person. All of sudden if you confuse someone else on your offense, it takes that one guys to breakdown on this play and one guy on that play. We definitely are very aware of that. We’re always trying to push the envelope, but the guy has got to be able to play fast and not think a ton. Hopefully what’s happening is as you go through the season, you know, there’s reoccurring themes in terms of schemes and concepts that you’ve done and maybe you repackage them in a certain way, and they get more comfortable as you go on. Give the defense a few new things to think about. I think that’s always the game as you go through the season. I’m hoping that it goes a little bit the other way; that everybody gets more comfortable with the things that we’re doing.”

Is Browning getting some help from the seniors out there, Siosifa Tufunga or Jaydon Mickens, to make sure everyone’s on the same page? - “I think that everyone is so concerned with their own world out there that I don’t think it’s really those guys coming back — there might be a route that some of those guys will talk to him (about). Protection-wise, there’s usually so many things going on that we’ll try to help him out there — hey, you’re not responsible for that, that should’ve been protected. Those types of things. I think it’s much more the coaches talking to the quarterback than the other guys. You know, the receivers (think) they’re open every single snap, and he’s probably getting that in his hear (on) the sideline: ‘You’re not seeing me? I’m open.’ You know how that goes.”

When you have a true freshman QB, did you ever consider putting Jonathan Smith on the sideline as opposed to up in the press box? - “I think there’s always some merit in those types of things, but you can’t necessarily talk to (the QB) when he’s on the field anyway. So they can talk right after, and they do, each series. But I think it’s important for the coordinator to really see what is happening from a different vantage point than on the sideline. I kind of liked it sometimes when I was the coordinator — and I never was on the field during games but I thought hard about it because during scrimmages and those types of things I couldn’t see what was going on. So I wasn’t nearly as irritated and mad, because I didn’t know who to be mad at. So every play I would be mad upstairs, because I knew exactly what happened. But I think somebody needs to be up there to be able to be the clear-picture eyes for everybody else.”

Is Lindquist the backup QB right now? - I think we’re competing each week with those guys. To tell you the truth, I’m not really exactly sure where we are with that."

Do you plan to get backup kicker Tristan Vizcaino a few more carries this week? - Laughs: “Yes we do, so everybody better back off when he’s on the field. That’s an affirmative yes.”

Did you see something on tape to plan for that fake field goal? - “Yeah, Coach Choate did for sure. (Utah State is) a very aggressive block team and so we were looking for a certain look, we got it. Credit to Coach Choate, credit to Jeff Lindquist (the holder) to see it. Because if we didn’t have (the look), we probably would’ve gotten out of it. Both saw it and away we went.”

Can a kicker be called for a false start? - “Good question. Probably. I think if you reset, you’re probably OK — you’re in the backfield. … I don’t know how many times that’s been called. It usually just throws their stride off and those types of things.”

Did you speak to Brandon Beaver's convoy about blocking on his interception return? - “You know what, there was just one guy we should’ve blocked, obviously. Some other guys were doing some nice things in terms of screening guys off and not taking shots. One of our guys was kind of looking over his shoulder and the (Utah State player) came up on his opposite shoulder and made the play right then and there. So we showed the team that. I thought there was some really smart, kind of screening, no-blocks on there. But I also think we can learn some things from it — hey, those guys are going to play hard too. If something happens like that they’re not going to have guys shutting down. They’re goin got keep chasing and there’s some fast guys. So there’s always a fine line between, Do you really need that block? Sometimes we do, most of the time we don’t. So we learned some things from that.”


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