VIDEO: Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen Thursday Briefing - Oregon State

Dawgman.com spoke once last time this week with Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen, as he addressed any final questions from the media on Oregon State and the status of some of the injured players - including John Ross.

What have you seen out of the group this week coming off a tough game? “Practiced well. That’s why you see us play hard; they practice hard. Big trick will be, can we finish? Can we finish drives? Can we finish tackles? That’s a big key to this.”

Any sense for the stake getting raised so late in the season? “Not necessarily. They’ve really poured their heart into every game. I think they know what’s at stake, and it’s not really focusing about that. It’s not going to make them play any harder or execute any better. What’s going to make them execute better is to think about their assignment and prepare like they’ve never prepared before. I think this week was good.”

What are you seeing on film from Oregon State? “I think they play very hard. I know Gary Andersen and that crew and you put the tape on and those guys play hard. That’s never really our focus; it always comes back to us. We always know the opponent is going to show up and they are going to play very, very hard. Everybody in this league does that. If you don’t play your best, you get beat - that’s the bottom line. So we have to make sure we’re ready to go.”

Get the sense the team is still having fun and playing with joy despite the setbacks? “I think they’ve done a nice job. Sometimes it’s very easy to lose perspective of that joy. We do play because we love the game, and if we don’t we’re doing the wrong thing. But when you put so much into it and don’t have results it’s easy to lose that. We do talk about that. I think they’ve had a really good mindset in terms of still working hard, knowing we’ve got to get better. If we get better, that’s going to bring us some joy.”

Is there ever a lightbulb moment that sets the confidence thing in motion, like you had at Boise State? “Sometimes it is, and we’ve had a couple big wins. But you’ve got to be able to build off that. You can’t take steps backward. I don’t know if we’ve necessarily taken some steps backward…I think we have maybe in the turnover department… but what’s different here is, the next team we play - they are right there and they are just as good. So if you’re not progressing, you’re going backwards. I think our team has learned that and we’ve got to continue to build skill.”

On Oregon State’s tailbacks “Yeah, they’ve got a good crew and they always have. Storm Woods has played for a long time; I think he might have played since he was a freshman. And they’ve got another big back in there, (Ryan) Nall. And number 16 (Paul Lucas) is shifty. Everybody has got some good backs that bring different dimensions to the game and that’s going to be a big key to our defense, being able to tackle those guys and they’re all very different.”

On how much the Huskies miss John Ross in the big play department “We see John Ross out there everyday kind of doing his thing on the rehab. He’s a special player. I said way back when that’s a guy you don’t just replace very easily. He’s very explosive and we’ll be excited to have him in the fold next year.”

On John Ross’ progress “He’s doing great. He’s doing really, really good. Barring any further injuries, that type of thing, but I think he’s ahead of schedule."

On if he tries to slow John Ross “He’s a hard guy to slow down. The trainers take that one over. It is kind of hard sometimes when you see him running out there. You’re like ‘are you sure he’s not ready to go?’ And he may be ready to go, but you know, this late into the season.”

On Elijah Qualls “Elijah is still making progress. We’re hopeful.”

On how to teach a young quarterback when to take chances and make tough throws versus just forcing ill-advised throws“I think he’s done a really good job of not making just really poor decisions. I thought he had one. And sometimes when you have them, sometimes when they come up the most, is maybe on scrambles and finding the guys kind of late over the middle and he’s made a lot of those throws and those can comeback to get you because they’re such bang-bag and it’s not a normal read progression. I thought we made one of those last week but I don’t think he’s made many of them. Like when you put him on it’s a decision you might like to have back. But ‘just a young guy that’s just a bad, bad decision;’ he hasn’t had many of those. It’s a hard time to have a lesson like that in the fourth quarter when the game is on the line, but he’ll learn from that.”

On Browning’s overall progress this season “I think maybe just probably his overall confidence, of knowing what’s going on. And I think some of the mistakes we’ve made will probably help him in the long run. Like I said, if you’re going to make mistakes, he’s making that are in the ballpark — you get why. They’re not just like, ‘Really?’ There’s not many of those. … What we need to do is score more points, and I think that will build everybody’s confidence.”

Any updates on other injured guys — Austin Joyner or Trevor Walker? “All those guys are on track. We’ll have all those guys in the (spring). Trevor’s doing fine; Trevor’s been practicing for a long time with us (while redshirting). So he’ll be full-go spring ball. Some of those other guys won’t be in spring ball, but we’ll get them back in the summertime and rock and roll.”

With two games left, have you noticed some of the seniors being more vocal? “They understand how important this time is to them. They’re practicing really hard, they’ve very focused because they get — I think everybody gets the time is short here; the days are long but the time is short. And certainly for those guys. So every time we go out on the field and we get to play and put that Husky uniform on, that clock is ticking. And I think they appreciate it and I think it’s showed up on the field.”

Do you feel more settled on the offensive line at all? Kaleb McGary’s been back at right tackle for the past couple games “I think we’re still a work in progress there. I think Arizona State, playing those guys, their style can expose you a bit. So we’re not where we want to be there and we’re always going to be competitive and we’re always challenging guys, whether we’re talking about quarterback, O-line, DBs, it doesn’t matter. So I think we’re making progress, but we’re certainly not where we want to be anywhere.”

The statistics obviously aren’t great for the Oregon State defense, but what do the Beavers do well there? “There’s two things that jump out: They play hard. And I know how hard that is when it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to; that is hard. So you put the tape on, they play hard. And the second thing is, their schemes are very good. Their multiple and they have a very nice blitz package to keep you off balance. So they do a good job. And, again, it’s going to come back to us: Have we prepared correctly? Because you get exposed in a hurry in this conference — really good coaches, the kids play hard and a lot of respect for these guys. All that’s in place. That being said, it still goes back to us.”


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