Five days before Washington opens Pac-12 play by hosting Cal inside Husky Stadium, head coach Jimmy Lake met the media for his weekly press conference. Here’s a full transcript of Lake’s address.

“OK, good morning. Well after watching the film last Saturday, we were very pleased with our execution in all three phases. We were pleased with how tough and physical our guys played. We know there’s still a ton to clean up. We had a really good practice yesterday. We know there’s always room for improvement. And for sure, even with the score we ended with on Saturday, there was still lots of improvement in all three phases that we have to clean up to get where we want to go. So our guys definitely … it was very exciting to get some results from all the hard work that our team has been putting in, and that was a big emphasis. ‘We need some results from these extremely hard practices that we’ve had. So we were happy about that. But now we’ve got to go back to work. We’ve got to go back to work. Our guys have already gone back to work, and now we’re getting ready to prepare for conference play.”

On why the same offensive linemen started and played together on Saturday:

“Yeah, that’s very typical. We rarely would rotate guys up front on the offensive line. We want those guys to gel together as the game goes. Now, things change. If there’s a competition at a position and maybe guys deserve some more playing time there could be a rotation at one spot. But I think for the most part you’re always going to see the offensive line staying as one unit.”

On linebacker Carson Bruener’s improvement and play last weekend:

“So proud of Carson. IT’s everything we talk about. Tough, physical play will always get rewarded here at the University of Washington. Carson started showing up during training camp, making plays on scout team first. We’re running our kickoff return against a scout kickoff, and he’s on scout kickoff. All of a sudden we’re like, ‘Whoa, Carson is showing up.’ He’s showing up on scout punt return. He starts showing up on defense. So we’re like, ‘Hey, you know what? We need to start getting this guy on the field somewhere.’ So now we start putting him on special teams. He was a huge factor on special teams this last game, had a couple tackles. Now he’s going to get more on defense. You saw what he was able to do on defense. He knows the calls, is running sideline to sideline, not making mistakes. So for a young guy, just seeing him blossoming is very nice to see.”

On what he changed from an offensive strategy perspective from the first two games:

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“Well, us not scoring points in the first two games. It’s a fairly easy assumption that we need to put our players in position to move the football and put points on the board. One of our jobs on offense is to score. That’s what we’re supposed to do. When we get the ball, we’re trying to go down and score. So I’m very proud of our offensive line, proud of Dylan Morris, proud of our wide receivers, of our young wide receiver (Jalen McMillan) going out there and making plays, and our whole stable of running backs, able to run the football. It’s just one game. We’ve still got tons of improvement to do on that side of the ball. But it was a step in the right direction.”

On why McMillan and Sean McGrew had success:

“Those guys seized the opportunity when they were in the game, and obviously scored. We think we have a bunch of weapons that can also score. You didn’t even mention Cade Otton there, and he’s scored a bunch around here, and also Rich Newton. I could go on and on and on. Those guys just happened to have the touchdowns that you just mentioned. But I think more style-wise, we gave those guys opportunities to go score. But it helps when we have a talented player like Jalen McMillan in there, and also Sean McGrew. But we also have some talented players that could also do those plays as well.”

On why this was the right time to get Sean McGrew involved:

“What I mentioned in the first couple weeks, we’re always trying to get our running backs in a rhythm. In the spring, and in training camp, we were really getting Rich and Cam in a rhythm, and they were playing really well. They deserved to get those reps. Kamari and Sean, they were right there as well. We have a wealth of running backs that can get the job done. In this game plan, we were able to get more running backs in there, and Sean seized the opportunity and made some plays. But so did Rich. Rich made some really good plays, too. Rich had his best game. Offensively, I think they all had their best game, not just Sean McGrew.”

On Daniel Heimuli’s first career start:

“He played well. He played really well. I’m so excited for him. He’s been banged up a little bit, battled back through some little setbacks here and there. He’s seen his game just reach another level. He’s another young man that has matured and watched more film now as an older player on our roster. He’s still not even that old. Very pleased with Dan, and you’re going to see him continue to play a bunch of football for us.”

On why defensive lineman Faatui Tuitele starter over Tuli Letuligasenoa:

“Faatui’s been playing really well, and those three actually could be starters. That’s the way we look at it. So we put him out there, and sure enough he made a bunch of plays. He’s the one that caused the fumble that Bralen Trice was able to scoop and score. It’s been a joy to watch those three d-tackles – who we have talked about needing to take the next step in their game – playing better. Taki, Tuli and Faatui still have tons of room to grow and continue to develop, but I see all three of those guys as starters.”

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On if UW ran more run-pass option offense against Arkansas State:

“Yeah, we definitely trickled some stuff in there, and then some play-action stuff, which is different. There was definitely a mixture of all of that. Some were run calls. Some they did have the option to throw it and some were fake run calls where we threw it.”

On how QB Dylan Morris handled the RPO plays:

“I thought he handled it really well. Really well. Unfortunately one of the balls was tipped and got intercepted, which that can happen when you’re running that type of offense, and which we see it when we go against it. But I think overall with the production and the points, I would say he handled it really well.”

On Morris’ progress in the first three weeks:

“Definitely played his best game this last game. And I guess if I give an overall assessment, he’s played better each game. The first game obviously nobody played well. Not just him. Nobody coached well. I should say that first. Nobody coached well. Which in turn, we didn’t play very well. But if you look at his progression, he had his first road game, played solid. We didn’t get the run game going, but he made a bunch of really good throws against a good defense. And then in Game 3 had his best production and led us to a victory. So I would say his progression is arrows going up.”

On struggles stopping the run against pro-style offenses:

“So the first thing, for the first couple of weeks — and I gave our credit to the offense this last Saturday — the reason why we were able to get some turnovers and they couldn’t lean on their run game is because we scored points, and we made it a game. The first couple of weeks we did not do that, and we’ve got to do a better job of getting off blocks, and tackling, and not giving up the long run. And so that’s the first thing we’ve got to do on defense, which we gave up a couple of long runs in Game 1 and Game 2, and then we didn’t allow the game to become a game, and the opposing offense stayed conservative and were able to wear us down. And so now as we get into Game 4 here, it’s the same recipe. We’ve got to be able to defend the run, get off blocks, tackle two really good running backs, go against a run scheme that has been very successful. But then on the flip side, we’ve got to make sure we’re moving the ball, we’re putting points on the board to make our opponent have to throw it and have to get out of a conservative, close-to-the-vest offense.”

On Brendan Radley-Hiles’ improvement:

“Just the details. Just the details. If Bookie would have came here out of high school, hey, just imagine where he would be right now. Can I say that? I can say that right? He’s here.”

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On if UW recruited him out of high school:

“Yeah, we were on him. So, what’s really cool, now that he’s here, to see his game and his details of the position he’s getting better at every single day and every single week, and he has played better from Game 1 to Game 3. And then I’m guessing he’s going to play his best football this Saturday because he’s hungry, he wants it, he’s really smart, he’s got a good savvy about him about football. He’s got great football awareness. And it’s funny watching his just eyes open when we tell him another detail, ‘Well, if you see this, you can do this.’ And it’s cool the interaction, he’s just like, ‘Coach, I’ve never heard these type of coaching points before.’ And then you have film to back it up. And then he gets to watch the film and how it’s supposed to be done. And so his game is just going to continue to raise as long as he keeps working at it, which I know he’s going to work at it. This guy loves football and I’m glad he’s a Dawg.”

On what caught Lake’s eye when Radley-Hiles was a recruit:

“He played really fast and was a tough, physical tackler. And he just flashed on the screen. You could tell he loved football. That’s what I remember. It seems like a long time ago now. But, I do remember when he was at Calabasas and he was the fastest guy on film.”

On how long UW prepared for Cal last year before the game was canceled:

“Man, you’re taking me back. I mean, whenever it was announced that we were playing Cal, that’s how long we were. I can’t remember the time frame. That seems like a distant memory. But whenever they said, ‘Hey, you’re playing Cal,’ we started game-planning that hour.”

On how Cal looks now versus last season:

“Very similar. They have carryover with their coordinators. Their last defensive coordinator, he did leave, he’s at Oregon now. So there’s a little bit different, but the structure is going to remain the same because Justin Wilcox is a defensive guy, and I’m sure a lot of the influence of what they’re running on defense goes through him. So there’s a ton of similarities, but they have the same offensive coordinator from last year and they have the same special teams coordinator.”

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On what is it about the way Cal plays that has made them a tough matchup:

“They are very sound on defense. I’ve said it before, I have a ton of respect for Justin, for Coach Wilcox. They’re going to be sound on defense. They’re not going to make a lot of mistakes. They’re going to try to get turnovers. And then on offense, they have a really good running game and they don’t turn the ball over. So that’s going to keep you in every single game. And if you look at both of those, it’s a one-score game, low-scoring, I don’t think either team scored over 20 points in the last two years in 2018 and 2019. If my memory serves me it was like 13-10 and 19-17 or something like that, or maybe it was 21-17, whatever it was. That’s going to keep you in every game. If you can play great run defense, you can run the football, get turnovers and not turn the ball over, you’re going to be in every game. And we came out on the short side of both of those.”

On the Cal rain delay in 2019:

“First, I remember the electric atmosphere that was at Husky Stadium, minus the lightning. The electric atmosphere with our fans. We had a punt return I believe it was. We had a big stop on defense. The crowd was going crazy. You could feel the momentum in Husky Stadium. And then all of a sudden, the break. That was – remember how awkward that was. I’ve been around it before. It’s happened a ton down in Tampa Bay. That’s the lightning capital of the world if you didn’t know that. So, I’ve had a ton of delay’s before. But this one was unique because it lasted so long. I remember there was a lot of discussion if it continued on that they would just cancel the game. Yeah. It was something we weren’t expecting. But hey, no excuses. You got to go out there and finish the game and we didn’t it. They played better than us when the lights came back on.” 

On if he thought the game would get canceled:

“Yeah. I remember they were walking around saying there was a chance that this is going to be canceled. Not postponed. Not redon. Canceled. Nobody wanted that, because that would have given other people in the North an advantage if they’re playing all their games and they have one more victory than us or Cal. I was ready to wait that thing out and when the clouds clear let’s go play this thing. Let’s go do it.” 

On if Lake had a game finish at 1:30 a.m. before that game:

“I have not. That was a first. That was a first.” 

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On the overall play of the outside linebackers:

“Just overall, or are you talking about pass rush? Overall, they’ve played solid. We need to play better in the run game for sure the first two games. If it becomes a slug fest for four quarters we need to play better as a whole on defense. If it’s tight we need to play better. We’ve had some production. Like I mentioned in the first game they held Ryan Bowman a few times. So, the pass rush is there and we got some penalties. Cooper (McDonald) I believe had the first sack the first game if my memory serves me correct. Not a lot of opportunities in game two. But those guys are doing their job. When they’re doing their job that opens it up for someone else. So the production that we’ve been able to have with the pass rush we’ve been able to generate starts with those guys, and the guys inside. Overall, solid. But we’ve got a lot of room to improve.” 

 On the drops against Arkansas State:

“Well he (Terrell Bynum) was playing. He’s played the last two weeks. These are things that we practice. Obviously, we don’t practice to drop the football. We practice to catch the football. I don’t know how – you’re supposed to catch the football. I mean, but this is part of the game, right? You see it yesterday in the NFL guys drop the football. That’s what happens. Sometimes guys get too excited and they take their eyes off the ball. They want to get yards after the catch, and they forget the first thing is to catch the football. Some guys feel footsteps. Some guys think they’re going to get hit. Some guys want to dart up the field. I think there is a laundry list of things why it happens. We just have to continue in practice; run your route, catch the football and then do step three after you catch the football, which is run after the catch.” 

On getting students to fill the Dawg Pack:

“They’re extremely important to our success at home, along with the rest of our fans. I’m sure they’re going to be excited. It’s the first time they’ve been able to come to a game since 2019. It’s going to be last year’s freshman class and this year’s freshman class, first time they’ve been able to attend a football game. So, I’m excited to feel their energy and feel their passion. Very excited for them to be able to have the opportunity to watch some Husky football.” 

On the forced turnovers against Arkansas State and how much that helps moving into the next game:

“Yeah. We don’t change anything. It’s the same message every game. Our job is to score or get the ball back on defense. We’re trying to score, which we did last week, and then we’re trying to get the ball back for the offense if we can’t score. That’s our job on defense. That never changes. That’s the standard around here. That’s what our defense needs to be known for. If we’re doing that we’re going to be winning a lot of football games. So it doesn’t change. This is game four. Our job on defense, score or get the ball back. Starts with stopping the run. You have to stop the run first. If you can’t stop the run it’s not going to open up opportunities to get turnovers. So that never changes.” 

On freshman defensive linemen Kuao Peihopa and Voi Tunuufi playing in the first three games:

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“What stood out early on back in the spring was they could handle our menu of calls. And they can handle taking on double teams. They can handle pass rush from the interior. That’s what stood out early on. Usually young guys like that they cannot handle our menu of calls. They can’t handle the run block schemes that they’re seeing up front. When we saw those guys being able to be productive against our offensive line in the spring and in training camp we knew that they were going to be ready for it. Now, as we get into real play and the spotlight is on and we’re going against another opponent, just like everybody there’s going to be that point of like ‘okay, college football is really fast. Alright I got to be on the details of my position. I can’t get out of my gap. I have to make sure I do my job.’ And that’s just a growing maturation process that those guys are going through, along with a lot of our young guys. But happy where they’re at right now. They’re getting better every single week and it’s awesome that we have that depth with those two guys. They’re getting some awesome reps to make them better.”

On what Jalen McMillan brings to the receiver room that’s unique:

“He’s fast. He’s got length. He’s tall and he catches the ball really well. That’s why we were so excited coming out of spring, coming out of training camp. With the explosiveness that we can have at the wide receiver position. When we had Terrell Bynum back in game two you guys saw the added pop that he gave us. And then all of a sudden, we have Jalen McMillan back and then you saw some added pop there. It’s going to be really awesome when we get the other one (Rome Odunze) back eventually. So, I don’t know what else to say. You guys can see it on film. He’s tall. He’s fast and he can catch the ball. That puts a lot of pressure on the defense. Now all of a sudden you have to worry about him and now we can hand it off to whichever running back is back there and they’re going to make some yards.” 

 On when wide receiver Rome Odunze can be expected back:

“Week to week.”

On Alex Cook’s blocked punt:

“It was something we saw on film. Want to give tons of credit to Keith Bhonapha. He designed a scheme to get after it. The cool thing was, it was actually designed for a couple of other guys to get the block. That was the only time we called the block, and he called it at the perfect time. Those other guys did their jobs so well and they were so worried about those guys going for the block. The hustle play by Alex Cook, he ended up coming free based on the block scheme that Coach Bhonapha put together. Great job by KB, great job by our punt block unit executing what we were trying to do, and then Alex Cook shows up. He shows up on kickoff, he shows up on special teams, and he shows up on defense. Another player that we rewarded because he showed us a lot of tough, physical plays on special teams, playing on defense now. And that’s a brave play, running through a line of scrimmage, foot-faking a guy, and having the bravery to go down and slam a punt. Great job by Alex Cook.”

On Dominique Hampton not playing since his taunting penalty at Michigan:

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“For our whole team, there’s always going to be … if we have some mental missteps with poise, there’s always going to be a price to pay. And now you have to earn your trust back, and when that trust is earned back, then more playing time will be given.”

On the benefits of having offensive coordinator John Donovan upstairs, as opposed to being on the field:

“A lot of coaches do it different ways, as you guys all know. There’s been a lot of success with guys at ground level, a lot of success with guys up top. I’ll say the pros of being up top is you get to see everything, you get to see what the defense is doing from a bird’s eye view, you can be a step ahead. You can see field position better. The atmosphere is calm. You don’t have to feel the ebb and the flow of the crowd, the referees, the body traffic that’s on the sideline. You’re trying to not get run over. It can be chaotic on the sideline. I think there’s a lot of pros to being up in the booth. Now, there’s also pros of being down below and feeling the temperature of the team. Do these guys need a kick in the butt right now? Do these guys need to get motivated? Am I going to be able to motivate these guys from thousands of feet away up in a booth? Or do I need to be on the field in these guys’ face, eyeball to eyeball? So there’s pros and cons to both. I think it did help us this last game, and we’ll just kind of see how this is going to progress as this thing moves forward.”

On how Donovan also being the quarterbacks coach plays into that decision:

“That was a big reason we started off last year of being down below, which helped. A quarterback playing his first college football game, getting to settle him down and being there with him and almost had that bedside manner. Like a doctor, you’re right there. It’s okay. They showed this blitz, everything is fine. Let’s do this, let’s do that, here’s what we’re going to do now … you don’t get that same bedside manner when you’re up in the booth on the phone. The cool thing now is, Dylan has played seven college football games now and has gotten to know his offensive coordinator/quarterback coach better now. We’ve been together for a little bit now, so they can probably have the same type of communication over a phone now from distance.”

On Jacobe Covington and his ability to blitz:

“I wouldn’t say he’s stood out as a (blitzer). No, I wouldn’t say that. He is a good blitzer, but he’s a good cover guy. What I was proud of him on that moment was that was a defensive call that we didn’t rep a ton but he should know. And for a young guy to be able to execute that call in that moment, and he did it perfectly, and he hit the quarterback in the strike zone, no targeting, not a late foul on the quarterback or anything like what a young player would normally make, a mistake like that in that moment. I was very proud of him of that. Still has a lot of improvement, just like all of our guys do. But really cool to see his progression and for him to make a big play like that.”

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On the team’s response now compared to the first two weeks:

“The exact same; we’re going back to work. That’s the anchor of our team, we’re going back to work. We’re bricklayers. Win, lose, we’re going back to work. And our team’s gone back to work.”

On how Donovan handled the peaks and valleys of the last few weeks:

“Same thing. For our team, and for our staff — and when I say team, this is everybody — the anchor of this team is to be a bricklayer. Whether we’re being highly successful and everybody thinks we’re great, we need to go back to work and get our team ready to go win the next one. Or, we’re struggling and we don’t know how to coach football or play football anymore — we’re going back to work. So we need to have that urgency, whether we’re having success or we’re struggling. What I’ve seen from our team, our whole staff and our players is, we’ve gone back to work. And we’re going to continue to go back to work.”