After his team fell to 0-2 for the first time since its winless 2008 season last weekend, Washington head coach Jimmy Lake met the media on Monday.

Here’s a full transcript of Lake’s address.

“Good morning. So the positive thing is we have lots of football left to play. Our players are in good spirits. They know we haven’t played our best football. We’ve put a lot of work in in the offseason to become confident and to put all of our packages together in all three phases. For these first couple weeks we haven’t played our best, and our players know that and our coaches know that. That is the exciting thing for us: we know there is a lot of room for improvement, but the improvement needs to happen now. All the work we’ve been doing needs to show up with the results on game day. So that’s where we’re at right now. No injury updates. Questions?”

On fans wanting Lake to replace offensive coordinator John Donovan:

“Right now, what we need to do is — just like I just mentioned at the top there — we need all this work we’ve been doing, all the positive mojo that we’ve had coming out of spring football, coming out of training camp, a lot of the positive stuff we saw happening in practice, shoot, a lot of stuff we saw happen in 2020 … that’s not showing up in these last two weeks. I understand the frustration, but it’s our jobs to now get our offense going and show results, and it needs to start this Saturday.”

On why UW has struggled so much in the first half in each of the last four games:

“Again, it comes back to coaching. It always comes back to coaching. We’re at fault and we need to put our players in better positions to start off fast and make plays and move the football and convert third downs and score points. So it comes back to us as coaches, starting with me. We have a bunch of talent. We have good depth. We need to start fast and we need to score more points.”

On Terrell Bynum performing despite not being 100%:

“So like I had mentioned last week, Terrell was week-to-week. Obviously this was a week he was able to play. For him to have those comments (about not being totally healthy) … there’s a reason he was week-to-week. But I was proud for him to go out there. He definitely gave us a spark. He gave us a spark. He made some plays and added some juice downfield for our offense. It’s going to be great for those week-to-week guys (Bynum, Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze) … hopefully we get those guys back at some point and hopefully we’ve got even more juice around Terrell Bynum. I think that goes back to what I mentioned, all the positive mojo we had coming out of spring and coming out of training camp with all those guys healthy and going. Hopefully we can get back there very, very soon.”


On the reason behind UW’s offense getting a delay of game penalty on its first play:

“Again, it’s unacceptable. Unacceptable. That starts with us as coaches. It starts with me. I’ll take that one. One of our keys to the game was to operate on the road, and we did not do that, and that’s on me.”

On if UW’s offensive coaches script the opening drive of the game:

“Sometimes there’s a plan to do that. Sometimes there’s not. That’s something I wouldn’t want to just yell out there: ‘Hey, we have the first 12 plays scripted, or the first 15 scripted.’ There’s definitely games where we have a certain number of plays scripted, but there’s also defenses you go against where you can’t really do that because you don’t know what you’re going to see. All of a sudden you script these 12 beautiful plays, but they give you something completely different, which can completely wreck what you’re trying to do. But that is a part of a function that we can do and that we have done.”

On why the offensive line has struggled so much:

“I still have extremely high hopes for those guys and for our whole team. But for sure, we have to block the run better. We have to protect our quarterback better. That’s not the only position group that needs improvement. A lot of position groups need improvement and need to play better. But having all those guys back, and we added a few guys, and with another year with our offense, we need to function better. And it starts with coaching. I’m not going to throw … it starts with coaching. We have to coach them better. We have to put plays in that are going to work so we can get some positive flow going on that side of the ball.”

On how QB Dylan Morris has diagnosed defenses in the first two games:


“It’s half and half. There’s some plays where he did a good job of getting us out of a bad play or getting us into a good play, and there’s some plays where he did not. Again, we can’t put it all on him, either. We have to make sure we’re calling plays that are going to work regardless of what we’re going to see. So it’s not all on the quarterback at the line of scrimmage — especially when you’re on the road, in a hostile environment like we just were this last Saturday.”

On his evaluation of the offensive play-calling thus far:

“Well, again, this comes back on me now. We’ve only scored 17 points in two games. So I would say it’s not very good right now, and that starts with me. So we’ve got to give our guys a better play. We’ve got to be able to move the ball quicker and start faster and give our guys confidence.”

On how much input he gave on the offensive plan last season:

“In all three phases, I’m going to chime in during the week. In all three phases I’m going to give my input, my perspective of what I think is going to give us an upper hand. But then on game day our coordinators are going to go. Of course on defense I can always have a couple little deals here and there adjustment-wise that I see, because I’m a defensive guy. But on game day our coordinators need to go and they need to call it. I’ve been on a bunch of different staffs where a head coach meddles a lot during game day and he ends up making it even more chaotic. So I definitely don’t want to do that. I’m going to cause more chaos during the week and then let our coordinators coach on game day.”

On if they’ve considered having John Donovan call plays from the booth:

“Yeah, we talked about that last year. Last year and this year. But, really more so last year. He was still trying to get to know our guys and know our quarterbacks and know their demeanor. And so those things are, again, always on the table. Always on the table. And we want to do whatever we think is best to get the play call in, to settle down our guys. But, those two different scenarios are definitely on the table.”


On a Michigan drive continuing because of a taunting penalty on Dominique Hampton:

“I mean, it’s completely unacceptable. … Things that we talk about, we call it FBI — football intelligence. We show these plays all the time and we watch other teams make boneheaded mistakes like that and sure enough here we go, we did it. So now that’s going to be a shining example of what not to do. We had some opportunities to cut that thing to a one-score point spread, but things like that derailed us, and we have to be more detailed than that and we weren’t.”

On UW failing to force a turnover in its first two games:

“It first goes to we need to stop the run. In this last game we were not able to do that. You saw the few times that Michigan did try to drop back pass. Our rush was getting there. It was a little bit of a struggle. But, we didn’t force them to throw the football. They were able to run it, and then in reverse, on the other side of the ball, we weren’t able to put points on the board to make them get out of their run game. And so when you can allow an offense to sustain the run game, it’s hard to get turnovers. And that’s what we’ve done the last two weeks is we haven’t put them in a disadvantage. Now, I will say this, turnovers usually come in bunches. And you guys have heard that, and they do. As soon as they start coming, you can get three, four, five at a time. That what our defensive job is to do, is to score or get the ball back, and these two weeks we definitely have not done that, and that needs to show up with some results here hopefully starting on Saturday.”

On Arkansas State playing two quarterbacks and its scheme:

“So, this is going to be the fastest offense we’ve seen to date. They’ve ran 84 or 85 plays the first game, over 100 plays this last week against Memphis. They are going to go extremely fast, they have two quality quarterbacks. They have a solid run game, but they’ve thrown for a bunch, upwards to almost 400 yards a game in these first two games. And it’s interesting the way they’re playing their quarterbacks right now. There’s really no drop off. (No.) 1’s in there and he’s playing really, really well. I think in the first game No. 1’s helmet popped off so then the backup came in, he got really hot and then he stayed in and threw like three touchdown passes. And then this last game they start off with No. 3 as the starter, they’re struggling a little bit, they’re down, and then they bring back in No. 1 and he throws four touchdown passes in four drives. And so they are extremely, extremely explosive on that side of the ball.”

On if UW’s offense has become predictable:

“There’s definitely some things that we need to change. And I think there’s some things that we need to utilize who we have available, and who we have available we’ve got to make sure we’re able to move the ball with who we have available, and I think that’s the bottom line of what we’ve gone through these last couple of weeks. We need to lean on our strengths and lean on who’s available. We can’t try to run plays where guys aren’t used to running those positions and making plays in those positions. And so, that’s the nature of football. Whoever’s available, we’ve got to make sure we’re utilizing those guys and leaning on our strengths.”


On if he’s referring to the lack of depth at wide receiver:

“Partly, yes.”

On Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant not receiving any carries in the first two games:

“Those are two quality running backs, and I would expect those guys to play. We obviously haven’t had a lot of production in running the football for those first two weeks. Like every single week, each position is evaluated and who is playing the best, and those guys are going to play. And currently that’s been Rich Newton and Cam Davis have been playing at a high level in practice. And so what you’ve seen is those two guys getting the bulk of the carries. But, again, it’s not all on the running backs. It’s on the plays that we’re calling, it’s on the offensive line, the tight ends. It’s on throwing the ball to run the ball. It’s not just on those two running backs. And so it’s all of us together and it first starts off with our coaching staff and making sure we’re designing plays to make those guys successful.”

On how long running backs can go with little production before someone else gets a chance:

“That just depends. And, again, no production in the game may not be because of that one person’s fault, right? That could be a missed block up front, that could be a call that’s not advantageous at the time we called it. And so we’ve got to weigh all of those things. There’s different reasons why you would pull a guy. If it looks like the lights are a little bit too bright and they’re making a bunch of mistakes and they’re lining up on the wrong side and they’re not running the right way, those are usually pretty good reasons why to pull a guy off the field.”

On if the lights have been too bright for running backs Richard Newton and Cameron Davis:


“No. For those two guys? Are you talking about Rich and Cam? No, not at all. No. Not at all.”

 On the collaborative struggles of UW’s offensive line and running backs:

“Yeah. So, again, I said it when I answered it, it comes back to us as coaches putting our guys in positions to be advantageous, and to be successful. Of course, yeah, we need to block guys better. We need to pass protect better. But again, it’s on us as coaches. We have a quality roster. We have talented players. And we need to put these guys in position to go out there and make plays and move the football. On defense, go out there and stop the run. Limit the pass and get turnovers. Us as coaching staff have to do that first and foremost. 

 On if this is John Donovan’s offense, or if it’s more of a collaboration:

“Definitely initially, you know through the interview process it was the style we were going to play. But, and again, just like on both sides of the ball you can’t just say’ okay here it is, this is what we’re going to run’. It’s, ‘okay, what fits who we have? What can our guys handle? We don’t want to put in too much. How new are we at each position, and what can they handle? So, there’s a lot of different variables. And then, okay, now we have injuries. Now what are we going to do? I’m speaking in general between — on both sides of the ball. So, there’s a lot going into it. You can’t just say, ‘Here’s the playbook. Here it is. Let’s go. We’re off and running it’. We got these million plays that a quarterback in the NFL can run, but a first-year starter cannot run. So, I’m not sure if that answers your question or not Christian, I’m sorry. But everything needs to always be changeable, on the personnel that you have and then who is available.”

On if the offensive scheme is dictated by head coach:

“It’s collaborative. It’s collaborative. It’s all of us together. And so, if you’re going to pin any blame put it on me if that’s what you’re trying to say. Everything goes through me, first, okay? If you want to pin blame just put my name on the article. I’m the one to blame. But, as we meet in there it’s collaborative and we’re trying to put our players in the best position possible to be successful. On offense, defense and special teams. If there’s any negative things that come of that, blame me.”


 On the confidence level of the team:

“I don’t. These guys are more resilient than you think. Football teaches you a lot. These guys have been playing football for a long time. Football teaches you how to be responsible, accountable, (have) a strong work ethic. And the other thing it teaches you, it teaches you to be tough. To be resilient. To persevere when no one else believes in you. That’s what this sport does. We have a bunch of tough football players on our team, and their confidence level is high because they know they haven’t played their best football yet. They’ve watched the film. They know we haven’t played our best football yet. Our best football is still yet to come. I know they’re excited to go out there and show what they got. Our confidence level is still high.” 

 On if the team is as physical as Lake would like:

“Yeah. It is – obviously this last game … I know this when we watched the film our guys played hard. They played hard. If we could have had a few more positive plays on offense in the first half that definitely would have given us more positive vibes, on both sides of the ball. But then, as the game wore on, we didn’t allow them to stop running the football and we definitely got worn down there. And then now we have to start throwing it because we’re down. So, we have a bunch of physical players. But the way the last game transpired we weren’t able to run the ball and we weren’t able to stop the run late the way we wanted to. But I know we have the ability to. I do know that. We have the ability. We have the talent. Again, it comes back on us as coaches putting guys in position to show it off. 

 On how close Lake feels the offense is to reaching its full potential:

“It could happen right now. There’s no question. Because we were just doing it coming out of training camp. It should have happened two weeks ago, and it didn’t, and that’s on me. All the work we’ve been putting in we need to see some results and we need to see results quickly. We’re hoping to start of this week, this Saturday.” 

 On a defensive turnover and being one turnover away from turning the tide:


“So, when you let an offense run the football and we don’t score on the other side of the ball, and they’re able just to hand the ball off that’s really going to limit your chances and opportunities to get turnovers. So, in these first couple games that’s exactly what happened. The game was close in the first one. Of course, our opponent was going to play it close to the vest and not leave their quarterback exposed and try to throw the ball down the field. And then you saw this last game they obviously handed the ball off a ton. Any chance they really tried to throw it, it didn’t look very good. Our rush was getting there and we’re knocking the pass down. If you’re going to let an offense just continue to rush the football and you don’t put any pressure on them to have to sit back and throw it your opportunities for turnovers are going to be extremely low.”

On how frustrating it is to hold Michigan to 45 passing yards and still lose:

“I look at the other number, and that’s what’s really frustrating, is the running number. Because you guys have seen it over the years since I’ve been here; an offense can throw for 300 and whatever yards and we can still win the football game because we know as long as those aren’t for a whole bunch of touchdowns we’re going to be okay. But any time you let an offense run the football the way we just did this last Saturday, it’s going to be a loss in our column. Yes, it was very disappointing. I thought our guys were fighting valiantly, especially in that first half. Tremendous goalline stand. Hold those guys to 10-0 at half, those guys were fightin’. You could feel the competitive spirit in all three phases. But we’re just talking about defense right now. Those guys were fightin’. We gave up the one long run for a touchdown in the first half, which can’t happen. And then again, we’ve got to play team football here. On the flip side, if we’re not scoring any points and they can keep handing the ball off, here we go. You’re going to get the result we just got put on us. So that’s what we’ve got to go in here and figure out and make sure we get a different result this Saturday.”

On the long run and a bad angle taken by safety Kamren Fabiculanan:

“We mis-fitted up front. That’s the first thing. But as you’ve heard me say … if a big play happens, it’s on our secondary because even if a nose tackle mis-fits it or a linebacker mis-fits it, once it hits up through the front seven, our DBs got to be there to put it down on the ground for a 10-12 yard gain. And we’ve done that the best in the country since 2014 of limiting opponents’ big plays. And so we’ve got to get better at that. We’ve had a couple long runs in two games and obviously any big pass plays are on the DBs as well with our structure. If we give up a big pass play, that’s on our defensive backs, so we’ve got to limit those big plays.”

On if the players have suggested schematic fixes:


On what a fast start would look like defensively:

“Three and out, not scoring on a first drive. That would be a quick start.”


On UW’s social media policy for players during games:

“Tweeting during games? We haven’t had to discuss that, but no. I don’t have my whole policy up here to talk about social media. Our guys are their individual selves. We don’t tell them what to tweet and what not to tweet. We do a general overall education on what is going to be best for them and what’s not going to be good for them. Which I know a lot of work places do now. And we’re no different in that regard. But that is their account and their freedom to tweet or Instagram or whatever it is they’re doing, as they would like.”

On if there was any thought about getting Sam Huard some snaps during the Michigan game:

“No. Again, that didn’t come across our radar at all during this game. It was already difficult enough being in an extremely hostile environment with a starting quarterback making his first start in a road game, in a hostile environment, let alone having your freshman quarterback get into a game in a hostile environment. No, that was not part of the plan.”

On whether Huard or Patrick O’Brien was the No. 2 quarterback:

“I think there’s an OR on the depth chart.”

On how important it was to have Patrick O’Brien at Michigan to experience that environment:

“It was fine. Patrick’s been at games at Nebraska where the fans are packed to the ceiling. It was good for Sam, that was the first time Sam’s been in an environment like that. But Patrick’s actually played in games with that many fans in a hostile environment on the road in the Big Ten when he was at Nebraska. I think it was obviously really good for Dylan to feel that. I think our team actually, I will say this, our whole team is going to be able to lean on that experience that last Saturday for some road games that we’re going to have here coming up this season, especially when we head to Arizona where they’re rowdy, and also in Boulder. They do a good job of getting that crowd going, and it’s rowdy. So we’ll be able to lean on this experience and learn from the mistakes that we had.”

On how the atmosphere compared to others he’s been in:

“It was a great atmosphere as you guys who attended could see. It probably would have been a lot better if we had made a few more plays and then it could have been a quiet 100,000-plus. But we definitely didn’t give them any reason to stop cheering.”