Post Practice Video - Chris Petersen

Washington head coach Chris Petersen talks about week three of spring football and the progress the team has made...

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What was your time in the sprint at the end of practice? - “Very, very slow. We have a few hamstrings but you don’t have to worry about me pulling a hamstring. We’re good.”

On you and your staff getting locked up with new extensions - “I can’t tell you how appreciative and supportive we all feel. And I felt that from the day that we decided to come over here. When Scott and Jen brought us over here. It’s never changed. The thing I think is so awesome about this is, President Cauce, Jennifer Cohen - they have such a great vision. They just really want to be good, so when somebody gives you everything they have to be good, recruit the best players and coaches, these are the places you want to be at. It’s not just about any one person and everybody likes to talk about the head coach, but to take care of the assistants and just our players - they give our players everything they could possibly give them - just feel extremely appreciative and every day I walk in here I think about that.”

How important is staff continuity to you? - “I think that’s one of the keys to long-term success. There’s so many factors that come into play in terms of staff continuity because I really feel like this place is going to attract the best of the best. I think we can recruit the best players, the best coaches, here. There’s always going to be opportunities where even though this is one of the best places in the country there might be another opportunity because these guys are so good. We have to be able to reload and continue to bring in high level talent to sustain what we’re trying to get done here. When they support us like this, that’s what it’s all about.”

Is there ever an overriding thought you have when thinking how you want your assistants treated when they are going through contract negotiations? - “We’re trying to take care of the guys the best we can. That’s what it’s always all about. That’s how I think about everything. I try and create the best environment these guys have ever worked in and we try to pay ‘em as well as you can. It can be a hard job at times. It’s our entire life 24/7 and we can’t forget about those things. When we come here we have to be able to enjoy this process somehow. That’s our whole thought process. There’s so many different things that go into it. We’re always thinking about that. It’s great for me to think about that and taking care of the assistants, but when the administration gets that, that’s game-changing in my mind.”

What was most important to you as you were going through negotiations? - “The most important thing always is, can we take care of the assistants and our players if we need things? If we need another staff member, another ops player, if we need to do something to our facilities, can we get that done? That was the main concern. They were so awesome about that. They wanted to do that, in terms of how generous they are. They started talking about my salary and that wasn’t necessarily even part of the deal. I just wanted to make sure of that. There wasn’t really negotiations. They were so awesome in this thing. They make it easy for us to coach here and be here.”

Does this cement your commitment to UW? - “I’ve been so fortunate in my travels, everywhere I’ve always gone I’ve always thought I was going to stay there for the rest of my life. I’m getting older now and it’s harder to move the older you get, teaching those old dogs new tricks. I feel really excited that I can be here a long time. I was talking about how long coach Romar stayed, that’s amazing to me. If I could stay as long as this contract is, I’ll be the happiest guy around.”

Are you where you want to be as a program? - “We’re never where we want to be at. We just don’t think like that. I think that’s one of the things everyone’s on the same page about. Jen always talks about being on the same page philosophically and values, and one of the things is I don’t even kind of feel like we’re where we need to be. We’re making progress, all those types of things, but I say that in a good way. It’s kind of like that scab that just keeps itching. We’re always trying to figure out a way to just do it better.”

Is this job what you expected, or has it been harder? - “I will say this: The support and the administration has been what I had hoped, but probably slightly better. And I thought it was going to be first-class. That part of things has probably surprised me, how good it’s been for all of us since we’ve been here, in terms of the administrative support. There’s other parts of the job that are different than you think that are going to make it harder. And it’s hard process, and we like hard things. All the good things in life that we do well are always a hard process that you work through, and it’s no different here. So it is slightly different, but the reason that I came here, that has been what I was hoping for.”

Is it fun yet for you? - “I get that question all the time. There’s joy in this job. I don’t think about it (that way). There’s just certain parts I really get a lot of enjoyment out of — being out on the field with the guys; being with our staff; watching the guys improve; figuring how to get everyone on the same page; figuring out what we want to be culturally; and watching even a young guy who comes in here and three years later what he’s all about. Those things, they all just take time, and those are the things that are really exciting.”

Have you fully settled in as the UW coach? - “I think we’re really comfortable being here in Seattle. That’s awesome. That’s been good. I don’t think you ever feel settled in a job like this. I never have been settled, ever.”

Being the highest-paid coach in the Pac-12, does that resonate with recruits? - “I don’t know. I really don’t. But what I hope it does resonate with them is we have a lot of stability here, that our coaches have as much stability as we can give them. Because that’s important to kids and their parents. They know how volatile this business is, and for Washington to make a statement like this, it’s as impressive as anything can be.”

You mentioned always evolving, what’s the next step for you to evolve as a coach? - “You need to come — you’re not invited to my office (laughs) — but you need to come to my office. It’s just every day there’s something. We have some people coming in here the next couple days who are going to talk to our staff and our team about our culture and how to improve it. It’s just always something like that. So are exciting things to me, because I think we can make it better. That’s what we have on the docket for the next couple days. We have a big coaches’ clinic here this weekend, and I can’t wait to hear our coaches present and talk; I can’t wait to hear some of the speakers we’re bringing in. I promise you, I will learn a bunch in these next four or five days. I think that’s the beauty of being here.”

Do you think you’re benefiting already from the CFP/Final Four berth, getting recruits to listen who otherwise might not have? - “Yeah, there’s progress. It’s like getting that flywheel spinning. You’ve got to start getting momentum and you start pushing it and you can build more momentum. And there’s good momentum right now, without question. But I don’t think it’s any one thing. Everyone wants to make a big deal about playing in the Final Four — that’s part of it. But it’s the progress that’s been made; it’s some of these kids we’ve been talking to for a long time. They can see progress. They can see the message that we’re preaching. And I think all those things start to come together. And that’s just the football side. I get so fired up about what’s going on on campus. All those new academic rankings that just came out — I shake my head. The thing that we tell these guys, it all looks good on paper. But if you’re coming here, you’re going to compete with the best football-wise. I think they get that in this conference. But you go onto that campus, you’re competing with the best there too, and that is not an easy task. You have to have yoru A-game every day here, so it’s got to be the right guy who wants to come here and really challenge himself, that’s going to go through some hard things, but at the end of the process is going to grow tremendously.”

Impressions of what is happening on the field - “I think that we have a lot of youth out there that is getting some great work. And I feel like they are probably further along, this team is further along with some details and some scheme things. There is not a bunch of major busts out there on either side of the ball, and on special teams as well. We are coaching a little more detail, maybe, than we have in the past at this time. I think that is a really good feeling to get those young guys coming in in the summertime. And because our older guys are so dialed in … when the older guys coach (the younger guys), that really pushes the flywheel  and builds great momentum.”

What you’ve seen out of new coaches - “They are doing a great job. Again, we’ve got two new guys, and we have not gone backwards at all. It’s not like they don’t know what we’re doing and haven’t been able to get that information to their players. Good progress there.”

Live snaps at goal-line - “That was Vita going live on his own. Sometimes when you get all of that momentum, it is hard to pull off. We had a couple live snaps last weekend. I like that – we’re playing fast, and it looks like it’s live. It should kind of look like that, but we are trying to be smart with our guys.”

On having Randy Hart at practice - “He is awesome. And the more he can be around us, the better for us. I just, every time I see him, he puts a smile on my face. You look over there, and he’s coached so much football. Every time I look at him, it makes me think, ‘Are we going hard enough?’ Are we practicing with as much detail?’  And I mean that sincerely. We were in the indoor (facility) for the first half, and I saw him walk out and I was like, ‘Oh man, we need to get outside fast.’  I know he is not good with us being inside and being out of the rain. He is awesome to have around here.”

How much has recruiting changed since he arrived at UW - “I think if you are working this process like you want to, you are right, it does not feel any easier, because I think we work so hard at it. There is always that next call. There is always those next guys getting on campus. When we got here way back when, and hit the ground running, we had 3-4 commits when we got here. There was tremendous intensity going forward. The coaches rallied and did a great job signing that class. That intensity has never left us, if we are trying to recruit at that type of level. It is always that type of urgency. It is just business as usual, and if we can stay at that level - it’s hard, because it’s year-round – good things will happen for us. We will attract really good talent.”

New guys in secondary - “I think we are making progress out there, I really do. It is fun every day to come out there and see these guys make plays – the Byron Murphys, a bunch of those guys out there. Even guys, Zeke Turner and JoJo McIntosh, who have been around, those are the guys I like to see a lot. Then you’ve got a Myles Bryant flashing every day, doing some good things – Isaiah Gilchrist, all of those guys, they are all getting better. Then you couple that with the freshmen we bring in in the fall, again, if those guys are ready to go, we will play them. So I think it is an exciting group.”

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