Petersen Eliminates Distraction for Duck Week

Washington Huskies Head Coach Chris Petersen met the media Monday to discuss Oregon, the lack of player availability to the press this week, changes to UO's defense under Brady Hoke, and more.

To listen to just the audio of the press conference, click on the link below.

Opening - “It was awesome to put the tape on and watch our guys play so hard and effective and efficient. I think it was one of those games where it was kind of clicking for us and not for the other guys. But really proud of how our guys prepared all week and on a short week and then came to play. I can’t say enough about the environment. I think you guys know that as well, but that was really fun to be part of that whole thing, how that stadium really changes when everybody’s there and it’s that electric. That was neat to be part of.”

Eight sacks on D, but no sacks given up on O - “When those stats like that, they can kind of be a little misleading in terms of sometimes things just start to happen and then they snowball and get a couple extra ones and stuff. But we were really pleased with how hard and how effective our lines played. They protected Jake well and were able to run the ball. On the other side really squeezed the pocket and not let Stanford hang on to it. I think anytime your lines play at a really high level you’ve got a good chance to win.”

On McCaffrey - what was your game plan going in and did you want to keep kicking it to him? - “You could see we were trying to move the ball around. And the one time we kicked it right in the middle of the field, that’s never the plan. Nobody in college football is trying to kick the ball right down the middle. So when you see that, that’s a screwup by the kicker. If you kick to a guy like that and these returners we have in this league enough, they are eventually going to get something.

“As far as the game plan, it’s get off blocks is what it is. You can’t do anything…any one running back can say this guy is really, really good, which happens every single week in this league. So it really comes down to trying to defeat blocks and run to the ball and not try to put it on any one guy and restrict running lanes. That’s really what it is. There’s no special answer where we had this game plan concocted where we were going to stop number 5. And you can see when he gets the ball in space how hard he is to tackle. One of the things is, guys were getting off blocks and taking a lot of the space away before he could really get started, because a couple times he was just an eyelash away from going. But they rallied to the ball good and slowed him down.”

When you put the tape on, how many of those sacks were just guys beating blocks and how many were coverage sacks? - “I think it’s always a combination of those type of things. If the coverage is fairly tight and the quarterback needs to see it just a little longer and the pocket starts to constrict it can get hard on them. I think the guys were pushing the pocket real well, but for the most part the coverage was pretty tight as well.”

On Psalm Wooching and Joe Mathis’ steady improvement - “Yeah. I just think they’re - they’ve both been - they’re both hard workers. It’s really good to see Psalm (Wooching) kind of come out of, I don’t want to say nowhere, but he’s been here a long time; he’s a fifth year guy, plays with a high motor and gives great effort. He’s made plays, but certainly to have it all come together in a game like that was really good for him.”

Are you surprised that you’ve gotten so much pressure without blitzing much? - “I think you just kind of look at it game by game, and as the game goes, what the strategies are on the other side and do we need to bring more pressure or are we getting there without. Yeah, the rush has been pretty good without a bunch of pressure. We don’t have a problem bringing a bunch of pressure too, if that’s what we need to do. I think it’s all about mixing it up.”

On players blocking out the noise - “I think we don’t talk about those things, we’re kind of burying our head in the sand. I think they have done a good job of just paying attention to what’s important and practicing hard and all those type of things. I do think it’s important that we pay attention to it as coaches and talk about those things, because it can be distracting, there’s no question about it. It’s distracting to me to have to sit here and talk to you.”

On the difficulty of rallying after an emotional high - “I think it is. I say that all the time. It seems like it shouldn’t be, but to play at that level with that focus and turnaround quickly and prepare again and have to play at that level again in a different environment. I know it seems like it shouldn’t be that hard, but it really is. That’s always a concern. I think it’s hard on Stanford. Stanford had to play USC and UCLA and then come to us. That’s hard to do that back to back. That’s what I keep talking about this league. I think the coaches all get it; it’s our job to make sure the players understand that if you don’t play at a really high level anybody can beat anybody in this league, without question.”

Does an extra day off help? - “No. We just have to make that up to recover a little bit. We just gave those guys and the coaches the day off to recover and then we’re back on a normal schedule. We really need to recover. You get home so late from playing Arizona with no day off. Now we’re kind of back on a normal schedule.”

What did you do on Saturday? - “Recovered. Did recruiting.”

Did you watch any of the games on Saturday? - “A little bit. We had some recruiting going on. Those types of things.”

Did you watch the Oregon-WSU game live? - “No. I was at a game.”

First impressions of the Ducks? - “You know, I think this: I think everybody always overinflates everything, on both ways. That’s what I think. I think that they played some hard-fought games that they had chances to win down at the end and for whatever reason just didn’t do it. That can affect momentum one way or another. And I think they played Washington State, who is a hard team to play, really well. In the fourth quarter, it got away a little bit. But that’s what I think.. I think we’ve got a huge, huge challenge in front of us, is what I really, really think.”

On Oregon’s defense under Brady Hoke - “It’s completely different. It’s a four-man front, for the most part. Everybody does a little bit of everything. So in the past, they were certainly a three-man front. It’s structurally a lot different than it was last year. It’s all a little bit different. We’ve seen it all. And all thi stuff is good stuff, it really is. Then it just comes down to executing on both sides. That’s what it’s all about.”

Any defenses you’ve seen that look like Oregon’s? - “Like our defense. We’ve seen it all. Our defense is multiple and does a lot of different things, so we’ve seen it all. They (Oregon) don’t sit in one thing. They bring a variety of blitzes, they’re a high-pressure team, they play two-high safety, they play single-high safety. They play man. The corners are good, can cover. So five games into the season, there’s usually not a whole lot where it’s like, ‘we haven’t ever seen this before.’”

On Royce Freeman - “What is he, 230 pounds? Playing in a spread, and can run away from you. He’s as good as there is in the country, without question. He backs it up every week. He didn’t play a week ago or whatever. When he plays, he’s hard to tackle. We felt that last year – he’s hard to tackle. And then he puts it on tape every week.”

On handling Stanford’s multiple offensive formations - “I think it started with getting lined up correctly, as simple as that sounds. But when you do have a multiple formation team and unbalanced formations and all that, there’s a lot of communication to get everybody lined up quickly. And one of the other things that’s hard about playing at home is it’s usually so loud that it’s hard to communicate those things, and I thought our guys did a really good job of bumping our front over when it was unbalanced, and getting lined up correctly and being able to communicate the coverages with not really being able to hear. I think that was first and foremost. Then when you get lined up correctly and can get set, then away you go.”

Who is in charge of getting that lined up? - “There’s multiple guys, it’s not any one guy. It’s who would see it, whether it’s a corner to a defensive end to our d-tackles. They can see if it’s a short edge or a long edge or those type of things, so once somebody sees it, it gets passed down to everybody and (they) get lined up.”

On “Beat Oregon!” message from fans - “You hear that a lot. So we get it. We know it’s important. But all these games are important. I mean, I want our guys to just do what they’ve been doing — just preparing hard and staying focused on the right things and showing up on Saturday with great energy and playing as a team. You can’t tell them, ‘OK, now we’re going to prepare really hard.’ That’s ludicrous. That doesn’t make any sense. These guys have been giving everything they can possibly give, so we just need to stick to that and stay focused and not pay attention to all the stuff that doesn’t really matter.”

But isn’t there a part of the outside noise that needs to be embraced a little bit to keep this going at the level you want to it when it comes to, say, recruiting? - “Oh, yeah. I think you segment this — it’s great for college football and our fans and recruiting and all those things. (But) none of that stuff helps our team one bit. Not even slightly. Unless it makes your stadium full — that helps a lot. But nothing other than that helps us.”

Do you make mention of The Streak to the team? - “I don’t know why I’d do that. No.”

What about the environment — playing in Husky Stadium to that level of fervor. What kind of reaction from the players did you get? - “I don’t think any of the guys have felt it like that. I don’t think there’s a guy on the team that’s ever been in that stadium when it was that loud and that energetic. I don’t know if there’s any coaches — Ikaika, maybe. He played way back when. But that was really good. Like I said, I can’t talk about that enough — that was different and that was fun and unique and all those things, for sure.”

No player interviews this week — what’s the reason for that? - “Do I really need to talk about that? You guys don’t have enough to talk about and write about? I mean, that’s what it is — they’ve got a lot on their plate going on, we’ve got practice and school, and I figured you guys had enough to write about without having to talk to those guys. They’ve been talking about themselves for a long time now; I figured it’s probably not talk about themselves for a little bit — go a different direction.”

It has nothing to do with the opponent? - “It has nothing to do with the opponent. It has to do with us — it always has to do with us. It’s never about the opponent.”

Is that the new policy for the rest of the season? - “I think we just play those things week by week. It’s like, what do we need to do as a team? What helps us as a team? These guys are scrambling around, getting their school going and all those types of things. We’re meeting with them this morning on academics and all those types of things — there’s a lot going on. And you guys are wonderful, but one thing they don’t need this week is you guys.”

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