Where is UW now compared to a year ago? - “I think number one, maturity - especially on the offensive side of the ball. When you see what Chris did last year, starting a true freshman at Quarterback, Jake Browning, (Myles) Gaskin - all these guys were young. And you’re just kind of playing football off of talent. This year I think they are going to be a little bit more experienced, a little more confident, if you can add any more confidence to a young guy. There’s a lot of hype based on that.
"You should be able to see that improvement because you know what Coach (Petersen) brings to the table as a coach and what type of a guy he is. And you can see it already through his football team. Just talking with some of the guys earlier, they knew at some point they had to buy in. I think Budda Baker said it best: once everybody bought in it was like, okay - the trust comes. Now you’re starting to see the results. I think they are going to continue to improve.”
Does the swagger feel legitimate to you as a former athlete at that level? - “It’s interesting. After talking with Keishawn (Bierria) and Azeem (Victor), some of these kids were at my camp in the eighth grade and they’re from LA. You mention swag. There’s a certain type of swag that’s just talented, and a guy that’s talented that can get on the field and make it happen. We like to say he has that dawg in him. It’s only fitting to say with the Huskies? They have that dawg in ‘em on the offensive side of the ball and the defensive side of the ball.”
Could this year not just be a breakout year for UW but also a breakout year for Chris Petersen at the BCS level? - “I think so. I think you’re going to see some improvement, and it’s not for me what Coach Petersen…it’s not about it should happen. I think what he’s done already is commendable. I’m not looking for him to win a National Championship and say if he doesn’t do this or he doesn’t do that, win 10 games his job is on the line. I think a guy like coach is building a program. I think he’s building something here that’s going to be something this school is going to be proud of not for just the next two or three years, but I think the next 8-10 years.
"I look at the guys that are on this team: I think he’s going to be able to recruit the right guys that will go out and lay it on the line for him and make this program proud again like when I was playing. Washington was the school and there were guys that I played against in high school and from LA, they weren’t talking about going to USC or UCLA. They wanted to come to Washington. I think Chris Petersen is going to bring that same attitude back to the school.”
How difficult is it nowadays for a coach known as a developer of men over a five-year stretch compete in an era where a lot of top talent leave after three years? - “I don’t think it has anything to do with the coach. I’m out here with these kids and the community back in LA and it’s unfortunate that with all the hype that these guys are getting, all the publicity these guys are getting - you’re talking about guys getting offers to colleges in the eighth and seventh grade. You don’t know what these kids are going to be like. They buy into the hype, so I don’t think it’s so much about (coaches) as it is the player that they are going after.
"You see it with the Stanfords, you’re going to see it here at Washington. These coaches are going to go out and get the guys that understand, you can’t go out and win games yourself, I don’t care how talented you are. You have to buy into the system and this is the ultimate team game. If you want to win championships and still go to the NFL, come to Washington. I think Chris is going to do a great job of that.
"I’m seeing it already with the attitude of the kids that I knew in the eighth grade, just where their mindset is. You can see the difference when they were kids. Everybody’s great when they were kids playing little league and high school, but what I heard from Azeem and Keishawn and Budda and those guys talking about buying in and being a team - that’s why I think this new era with Chris is going to be successful.”