Petersen Not Interested in Playoff Talk

On Wednesday, Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen met one last time with the press before the No. 10 Huskies host the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal Friday evening at Husky Stadium. And his message was the same: there's nothing different about this game other than it's game number five on the schedule, regardless of any external implications.

NOTE: There is no audio for the first minute. It kicks in shortly after. Operator error, my apologies. But the FULL quotes from the beginning of the media briefing are below.

On the magnitude of this week being inescapable - “This is the biggest game we’ve ever played, because it’s the next game. That’s what it is. Every week, it’s the same message. I mean, right? Everything behind us is behind us, so this is the next biggest game, and our guys are excited to play.”

Worried guys might be too amped up? - “Nope. Not at all. They’re going to be ready to play. it’s the next game.”

On bouncing back from mistakes in the Arizona game - “I think we had a good game in Arizona. There’s no bouncing back. We’re springboarding forward, because they played hard, they won the game in overtime and it’s a tough place to win.”

On Stanford’s receivers and players other than Christian McCaffrey - “This is a complete team. It’s a complete team. It’s not any one player. They’ve got a great player, obviously, in Christian, but their receivers are very good, their o-line is excellent, and like I’ve been saying, their defense is top notch.”

On the logistics of this week with school starting - “I think it’s pretty good. For as much as we had to move things around, and school right now, I think the guys did a great job. So now they’re heading to class right now, and then tomorrow, put the final preparation touches on the gameplan and away we go.”

Do you keep guys off their feet more with the short week? - “We had to be smart with our practice times and our reps and all that, but I think we got the work that we needed to get. They’ll be ready to play. they get next week, we make it up on the end of the week, and they’ll be fine.”

On Stanford’s defense - “Well, I think they’ve given up three touchdowns on defense, and I don’t think anyone’s even talked about that, at least to me. I mean, I get it – everyone wants to talk about offense – but this defense is as good as we’ve seen, and it’s been the last four or five years. So that’s why Stanford’s so good. They’re a complete team. Their special teams are very, very solid, but they play elite, championship defense.”

On Stanford being without its top two cornerbacks - “It doesn’t really matter. A program like Stanford – those kids played most of the game at UCLA, and did an excellent job. So we don’t worry about them. We’ve just got to make sure that we’ve got our nuts and bolts tight, and we can make plays. They’re going to have good players, whoever it is on the other side of the field.”

On Stanford quarterback Ryan Burns - “Well, this is a different style of offense, first and foremost. It’s not any sort of spread. He’s a pocket passer. They obviously run, run, run to set up the pass. He is a big, athletic guy. Every time he has taken off to run – and you’ll see, he can run, he can get first downs – I think he’s run a handful of times, and every time, it’s been effective. He’s looking to throw the ball, but if there’s a crease, he’s going.”

Hard to simulate him 100 percent, but do you have a guy playing the role of McCaffrey during practice? - “I’ll tell you what, our two freshmen - Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant - those guys have done an excellent job practicing these last few days. And you’re right, you can’t simulate the whole thing, because it starts with the o-line and it’s just a different style and you don’t go live in practice, but I will tell you our scout team did a good job.”

Off the top of your head, do you remember a team where an athlete had more total offensive touches than the quarterback? - “It is unique. I think it’s good coaching. They are trying to get their number-one playmaker the ball as much as they can. Whether it’s kick return or punt return or receiver, quarterback - it’s smart. Their style kind of suits that. But you know the thing is, you just focus on that guy and make it all about one guy I think you’re playing into their hands. They can throw the ball well. They have other running backs that do a really good job. But that’s why Stanford’s done what they’ve done. It’s not one guy, it’s not one side of the ball. It’s a total program.”

With their deliberate style, does it allow you to play more bodies on defense? - “It’s certainly a different style, for sure. We’ve got to match their personnel the best we can. We’ve seen it the last couple of years. We’ve got to execute better, is the bottom line.”

The offensive line talked about emphasizing being physical against Arizona and running the ball. Encouraging going into a game like this they got that done? - “I don’t care what style you play, it’s got to be a physical game or you lose. Stanford’s style on offense is certainly that. Even a spread-type team, when they’re spreading you out if you don’t make it a physical game you lose. They pack it in there so there’s more bodies and guys flying around and falling on each other, that’s just the nature of it. But it always needs to be a physical game.”

Great returners on both sides of this game. How big a factor do you think that will play? How much are you stressing special teams this week? - “They are really solid on special teams, there hasn’t been a ton of returns out of there. They kick the ball deep into the end zone and their punter is very good and directional. They get great coverage. You’d like to make it big…and we’ve got the same issues on their side kicking to 5 (McCaffrey) all the time.”

Is the message to Tristan Vizcaino keep doing what you’re doing with respect to touchbacks? - “Yeah. Obviously that makes it easy on everybody, but as soon as you tell a guy that they try and over kick and the ball goes down to the 15-yard line, and depending on wind conditions and all that, that always changes everything, so…Tristan’s done a nice job kicking off and continue that that’ll help.”

On Cameron Van Winkle bouncing back from two misses at Arizona - “He’s been great. He’s had a good week of practice, and all these guys are very focused. He’s been good.”

On preparing for Stanford’s jumbo O-line package - “Yeah, all that’s difficult. We haven’t seen it all year, won’t see it again. And so it is unique. We have been paying close attention to it, but they do enough with one-back, two-back and jumbo — there’s a lot there. So hopefully our guys are assignment sound to start with.”

Do you worry about your guys maybe paying too much attention to McCaffrey - “It’s first and foremost — they’re not looking, ‘Where is he?’ They’re trying to check formations and how to line correctly. And then once they get aligned correctly, they’ve got to trust their keys and play fast.”

Pleased that it looks like it’s on its way to being a sellout? - “Absolutely. I hope it is and I hope it’s a great environment and everybody enjoys it. This could be college football at its finest.”

Does this get the feeling of having playoff scenarios already … - “Can you turn the camera on all the reporters here because they know the answer to that: No, it doesn’t. It’s our next game, it’s Game 5, it’s a really good team we’re playing. It has nothing to do with any of that other stuff.”

On atmosphere and walking out of the tunnel to see that crowd - “Well, I just think it’s college football. Washington’s such a special place because of this beautiful stadium, because of how many people it holds, when you come here and it is full — it’s unique. There’s a handful of places like that in the country that can truly be unique. That’s what we’re trying to do here, is build this place that most every game is like that. And then you’ve got something really going.”

On players from ’91 team being around this week and maybe talk got the team - “It’s very important for me and this program to make them feel (connected). I’ve said before, when you have a bunch of head coaches changes along the way, it’s really easy to lose connection to the program, so I always want those guys to feel really connected here. I’m hoping I get a chance to see all those guys myself on Saturday. I think that’s really important.”

Is it important to have those former players talk to the team before the game? - “I want them connected to our guys, for sure. Our guys got a lot to think about right now. We’re not going to win this game because of a motivational speech by me or anyone else. These guys have to line up and play for four quarters — and expect a four-quarter game. That’s what it’s going to come down to.”

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