VIDEO: Chris Petersen on Spring Ball Day 11

The press spoke with Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen Friday following Day 11 of the Huskies spring football schedule, and Petersen had plenty to say - especially about satellite camps, this weekend's coaching clinic, media expectations for his team, and more.

Like what you saw today? “Always like spring ball. We like the good. Really like the good. We even kind of like the bad and the ugly sometimes too so we can learn. We get a lot of great teach tape out here. Not only just assignment-wise, but really how to compete. That’s probably as much as anything – a lot of young guys are getting reps. They still aren’t 100 percent certain what we’re doing, and they’ve just got to make a decision and go fast. That’s kind of the first rule of competing, so we’re kind of working through some of that.”

Spring ball easier now in Year 3? “It’s never easy. But they know the expectations, certainly, better than we did in the past. So that does make it better. But it’s never easy.”

Does it feel smoother, at least? “I don’t know if spring ball is ever smooth, because again, everybody gets reps. One side makes a play, the other side, you’re looking at it (like) really? So you’re trying to figure out, is it just the young guy, is it a guy not competing, a guy doesn’t know his assignment, so it’s just a lot. It never feels smooth. But it feels good, because we don’t have to win tomorrow. Tomorrow’s Saturday. We’ve got to win here in a few months. So we’ve got time to work through some of these things.”

On the offense bouncing back a little today “Absolutely. It’s a give and take. And we’ve got some guys that have played a lot of defense out there, and the offense, it always starts on the O-line, and it starts with pass protection a lot, and we’ve got a lot of schemes we’ve introduced, and our defense is throwing a lot of different looks, and all it takes is that one guy to not be dialed in, so like I said, it’s really good to get all of this on tape, so we have all of this to clean up. It’s not going to change when we start in the fall. The schemes aren’t going to change. So we’ve got this and hopefully we can be that much further ahead when we start in August.

On how much they’ve installed “We’ve done a lot, and we’ll put it all in except for gameplan stuff. And the gameplan stuff isn’t huge. It’s a couple wrinkles each game. But we’re going to put it all in.

On the installation process “It’s always this whole-part-whole. You put it all in, you’re cleaning it up, you put it back in, clean it up, and that can be a tough process. We don’t want to give them excuses. It should look good. But we also know it’s not going to look good at all times.”

Where is the offensive line right now with some players out? “I think that o-line is probably the last group that has to play together. There is a lot mental. Those guys will have as much on their plate, maybe even moreso than a quarterback because you’ve got to get five guys on the same page. The quarterback, he needs to be dialed on everything but the five guys all have to work together, so that’s a lot of moving parts.”

McGary out conditioning today. A positive sign? “You guys can’t worry about injuries in spring. We’re not even going to be talking about injuries. Next question.”

Will the Spring Event look the same as today’s practice? “Yeah, it will. And I know everybody wants to come out here and see a 120-play scrimmage. It’s not going to happen. But you’ll see us practice hard and you’ll see us get work done and you will see a little bit of scrimmaging. So we’ll do all those different things. We keep saying: we don’t need to win spring ball. We just need to get better in spring ball. We really feel like that last practice is important. Do it the right way and be smart about it.”

On the last play of the team period today, who won that? The offense or the defense? “The offense truly won because all they needed to do was score to win. Then I made it tied, so I changed the rules on them. Then they had to get two and they didn’t get two. It’s always back and forth. That’s kind of what I do. I make one side of the ball miserable. If one side of the ball is doing good, we’ll change the rules on them and that’s how it goes in spring. They’ve got to be able to adjust, to adapt, to be able to deal with everything that’s thrown at them.”

On Tony Rodriguez improving “I think all those guys have made progress, and that’s what it’s all about. When we play for real it’s just gotta be more than just steps and progress: it’s got to be at an extremely high level or you don’t win. We know that. But we feel good about all those guys, all those quarterbacks are making progress.”

Can Rodriguez push for the backup job? “It’s all open. I can’t say that sincerely enough. I’m not going to say anything that’s not 100 percent true here, to you guys or to our team. It’s all open. If Jake doesn’t keep producing, it’s all open. This is all a seating chart. There’s no depth charts. And I mean that sincerely.”

Have an opinion on the satellite camps? “My big opinion is, they don’t need to spring things on us. I was told that it if it came through it was going to be next year. We have all these agreements with all these people all over that are counting on us, kids counting on us, other coaches from other programs. Now they are saying we can’t do it and we have all these agreements. That’s probably my number-one beef about the whole thing. Whatever we decide, we decide. I like the satellite camps, I think they are good for kids. But if we’re not going to do it, to pull the rug when we have all these agreements. I don’t think that’s right.”

Get the sense most Pac-12 coaches want the camps? “I think in general, most coaches just want to give kids chances, get their university exposure. Not all kids can get up here. I wish everybody would just come up here to Seattle and see this beautiful place, but not everybody can do that. So this gives us a chance to be around them.”

So are you having to scramble and cancel them? “We’re still waiting on the final ruling because we have agreements with people. We’ve done this for the last couple years and so these guys are looking at us like, huh? And so we’re waiting on the final ruling. I hope if they do it, it’s next year because we have all these agreements. Guys have brochures made up. Now everything’s on hold. Like I said, we can go on and on about this.”

Is the coaches clinic weekend a special weekend for you? “It’s real important to me because they don’t let the head coach out in the spring. And since they’ve done that you lose a lot of relationships. You can’t get out. In the fall you’re on such a whirlwind tour of trying to see all your guys that it’s hard to stop by schools just to visit coaches. So it is good to get a lot of coaches here. One, we’re fortunate. We get to do this 24/7, study football, learn from all over. A lot of these coaches have other jobs, have to teach. So they can come here and use us and some of the things that we’ve learned. If it applies to them, awesome. Take it with you.”

A lot of nice things are starting to be said about the program. Is that the last thing you want to hear right now? “I’m not sure…what are the nice things?”

Pac-12 contenders… “Because we were 7-6 last year? I’m trying to figure that out. I don’t pay attention to that. And if our team does, we’re in deep trouble. We haven’t done anything. If we pick up where we left off, we haven’t done anything. We need to make significant strides, and that is to be determined. So to me that’s all outside noise that distracts these kids from what we’re trying to get done.”

So do you have to address that with them? “We talk about the culture, the mentality, 24/7 around here. So it’s really important. In the world we live in, one of the biggest things that they have to deal with day-in and day-out is outside influences. And you’re part of those.”

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