Post Practice Video - Chris Petersen

Husky head coach Chris Petersen updates his views on spring football to this point...

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Already icing kickers in practice. What’s that all about? - “Well, it’s all about experience and Tristan’s been around. Cam’s kicked a lot of field goals, but Tristan’s right there and he’s ready for some of that and he’s ready for us to put that on him. We’re not in game mode obviously you can see, but anything we can do to put pressure on the kickers, and I think they actually appreciate it. It’s like going to the driving range. Softy’s even pretty good at the driving range but you put the pressure on him a little bit and it’s like really? So kickers are a little bit similar.”

Is there value in going out with a wet football today? - “There’s always value being out in the elements. That’s where we play. It really wasn’t that bad at all. If you grabbed a ball it probably helped a lot of the quarterbacks. The ball gets a little sticky. It really wasn’t coming down. This whole thing is the mindset. It’s not a while until we play so we’ve got to pick and choose our spots when we go outside. It was a good day to be outside.”

We saw a pick from Jomon Dotson. What was the reason behind the move to defensive back? - “It was really Jomon who came to us and he just wants to play more. There’s usually five DBs on the field at one time and one running back. We saw that. Jomon has really great explosiveness and elite speed, and so we’re taking a look. Wanted to try him in spring practice to see how he felt and see what he thinks. For the most part we always play guys where they want to be, where their heart is. We don’t recruit guys at one position and then move ‘em over unless we’re all in this together. So with Jomon wanting to experiment over there and try it out, we were all for it.”

With Scott Huff, how much do you want him to meet the players halfway with the calls and the terminology and the like? - “We have a really good system and one of the many  reasons coach Huff is here is, he’s pretty familiar with what we do. There’s just a lot of carryover. There’s going to be some calls and some techniques that each coach likes and we’ll always defer to the coach. The players are smart, they learn things. It’s hard for us old coaches, like if a guy’s making a call for twenty years all of a sudden have to…the players adapt fast. So most of the stuff is what we’ve done. There’s a few things that keeps those guys on their toes and keeps it interesting and gives them more tools, techniques to work with.”

Talk about how the players have taken to coach Lubick - “He’s another elite coach. And different than what we’ve had. And I think different is good.”

How is he different? - “Just personality-wise. He’ll have different techniques. There’s just a lot that’s different. But there’s a lot of ways to be elite at something. He is that. He’s an expert at his craft and treats the kids really well. He’s a positive coach. He knows what he’s doing. His track record speaks for itself. So another positive change.”

What did you envision when you hired Lubick as a co-OC to work with Jonathan Smith? - “The plan hasn’t changed at all. It’s always been like this, we’ve always had a couple guys that are really involved with the pass game. When I was offensive coordinator I  always had a right-hand wing man to help me put it all together, then one guy’s gotta call it. We’ll have a couple guys that put the run game together and pass protections. The coordinator calls the game. Just how we game plan, because we are game planners - we don’t do the same stuff week after week - there’s a lot of little tweaks in game-planning that not any one guy can do it. And so you need guys that are experts to run this offense. And I think we have that.”

With Lavon Coleman finishing school, what have you seen from the younger running backs? - “It’s awesome that Lavon’s going to finish up and graduate. That’s hugely positive. It’s always hard when a guy’s missing that much practice, but the next young guys are ready to go. So these are great, quality reps. I think that Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant, they’re taking full advantage. You can see flashes. You don’t really ever know until you play live with running backs, but we’ve done enough with those guys that you know they have skill. So it’s really good to get these guys dialed in in our system and our calls and all of our checks. These are great reps for those young guys.”


For most, the first thing that stands out about McGrew is his size … - “He doesn’t stand out at all to me because of his size. He stands out to me because he’s got tremendous vision. And if you watch him play … he’s got elite feet. He doesn’t cross his feet over. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s vision and being able to play with a base. You won’t see him slip much, and it’s really special when you watch him. He’s different than most. That’s why he ran for all those yards in California.”


On having Myles Gaskin, Lavon Coleman back - “We have some really good running backs, there is no question. But it’s going to start and stop with the O-line. We need to give credit where credit is due, and I’m pleased with what we’re seeing up front with those guys. They’re covering guys up and moving people, and with those running backs they’re going to be hard to tackle.”


On handling roster turnover - “Well, I wish they didn’t leave us. But there’s that graduation thing and that NFL thing, and between the two of them there’s always going to be guys (leaving). But I think that’s the beauty of being at Washington. You get this elite talent and then you develop it and get them really dialed in, and then it’s either graduation or the NFL or a combination of both. But we always have some really good, young talent that’s being recruited in here that’s going to be here. So it’s bittersweet. You hate to lose those guys, but it’s also really exciting for the next crop and that’s where we are at certain position. Every year it’s the same.”


On next crop of defensive backs - “Great talent. There’s some really talented guys there. And we have some recruits coming in here in the fall that are really talented too, and I can’t wait to get them in the mix as well. When it’s all said and done, it’s really an exciting time. And it’s only exciting when you’ve got some talent. When you’ve got some new guys that aren’t talented, that’s a bit never-wracking. I think it’s exciting because we’ve got some talent there.”


On departures of Budda Baker, Sidney Jones, Kevin King, Elijah Qualls — what kind of legacy did those guys leave here? - “The thing I feel so awesome about with those guys is they’re elite talent — they’re all NFL players and are going to be drafted high — but they’re really good kids. That’s what makes coaching fun — when you have talent and they’re great kids who are all bought in to your way of doing things. We all know there’s a bunch of different ways to do things. Kevin King — to go through a coaching change. He was all-in the old way, and then he was all-in on the new way. That’s hard to do, and it’s just really fun to watch a guy grow and change and be all-in.”

How big of a deal was it to get Vita Vea back? - “Well, here’s the thing – we always want to do what’s best for the kids. It’s not just like, we need him back because he’s going to be a good player. We really thought it was best because down the road, when you’re looking and considering NFL things, he still has some really good growth – I think we all know, he hasn’t played that much. He has got some unbelievable potential. He’s a good player with unbelievable potential. So I think that’s the thing to take that next step in terms of development and we’ll see what happens at the end of that process.”


On the message that sends when you’re able to convince a potential first or second-round pick to stay in school - “I think again, for what we were looking at at the time, I think it was a really good decision. You don’t know where he’s going to be. It’s all about potential and it’s all about one day at a time, one step at a time. Sometimes it is time to go. Sometimes it’s to stay. I think it’s really hard sometimes to make mature decisions. Mature decisions are those guys who can postpone things – prolong the gratification. It’s an instant gratification world, and everybody’s got to have it now, and everybody sees everything, and for a guy to step back and go, ‘maybe it’s not time,’ that takes a mature guy.”


Does this linebacker group have potential to be your best ever? - “I don’t know about that, but I know it (has) potential to be real good. I don’t know. It’s too hard to compare. We’ve been doing this a long time. We have some really good players here with some experience, and we have a really good coach coaching them with Bob Gregory, and it’s just a really nice combination to watch.”


Jake Browning progressing the way you want? - “He is perfect. Every day we’re holding him back. Every day he’s like, ‘I can throw more, I’d like to throw more.’ We’re fine. We’ll get there.”


On whether it’s difficult to hold a player back who wants to do more - “That’s how you want them, but it’s not difficult, because Jake understands the big picture. You’d much rather be pulling guys back than pushing them, ‘let’s go.’ And we’re always trying to hold him back. Part of the problem was I think because he’s thrown so many balls, that kind of perpetuated the injury a little bit itself. So we’ve got to learn, all of us, with Jake, moderation. Work our tail off, but we’ve got to balance throws and workouts and all those things.”


On how Browning is handling the injury mentally - “The only thing that’s hard on him is he wants to go play. I think he’s real excited about it, because he’s going to be better and feel better in the long run for this. I think he’s real excited about what he went through because this is going to be something that now he doesn’t have to deal with down the road.  But it’s hard not being in there when you’re a competitor.”


Have you met new basketball coach Mike Hopkins yet? - “I have not. I met his family. His family, we hung out in my office, but he was somewhere probably doing interviews with you guys. I’m excited he’s here and heard nothing but great things, watch him go.”


How hard was it to see Lorenzo Romar let go? - “I think everybody knows how hard that is. What a great guy, what a good coach, what a good person. Done some awesome things here for this university. Those are hard. I mean, 15 years, though? My hat’s off to him. If I can stay anywhere 15 years, I mean, please. That would be unbelievable. Awesome run, and really proud of Coach Romar.”

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