Two days after his team stumbled out to a season-opening 13-7 loss against Montana, UW head coach Jimmy Lake addressed the media on Monday — five days before the Huskies meet Michigan in “The Big House.”

Below is a full transcript of Lake’s news conference.

“OK, good morning. So first thing, we want to say thank you again to the fans for coming out and supporting us last Saturday. We know we did not give a performance that was Husky football, and we apologize for that, and we’re going back to work to correct that. But that was the first game where we could have fans back. We appreciate the support and you guys coming out and cheering. We are just as disappointed as you are that the result didn’t go the way that we wanted, and we’re going to correct that.

“I wanted to give an injury update. Ja’Lynn Polk suffered a chest injury on the very first play of the game. He had emergency surgery right after the game. He is out of the hospital now and he’s in good spirits. But this will be a long-term injury. We will probably not get him back until postseason play.

“And then lastly: Terrell Bynum, Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan are all week-to-week. We will get them back at some point. We’ll see how those injuries progress. Questions?”

On more specifics on Polk’s injury:

“Yeah, I’ll just leave it as a chest injury. We’ll just leave it right there.”

On how the coaching staff didn’t get UW ready to win that game:


“It was very unfortunate. It starts with me first. It starts with me first. We’ve got to be better prepared. We’ve got to have a better plan, and we did not execute a good plan. It all starts with the coaching first, and it starts with me.”

On grading the team after film evaluation:

“I think special teams were solid except for the return game. We gave up two punt returns that we typically have not given up around here. That’s something we need to clean up. We knew they had a good returner and we missed a couple tackles in the return game. The other part I can think of with special teams is of course we’d like to make that long field goal. We were close. It almost went in, but almost doesn’t count.

“Defensively, a lot of positives, holding the team down to three points until deep into the fourth quarter. Still some things to clean up. Did not play perfectly at all. But I thought we did play well on third down. We didn’t get the sacks that we wanted, but we also forced three holding penalties by their offensive line, which almost results in sacks when they’re going back to second-and-20 and third-and-20. But we still want to get some more pass rush. And then we didn’t get any turnovers.

“And then on offense, obviously we’ve got to score points. We can’t go down right there in the beginning of the game and it looks like we’re going to score on every possession, and then we don’t score anything after that. So we’ve got to run the ball better. We’ve got to protect our quarterback better and put more points on the board.”

On what happened offensively after the first drive:

“It comes down to execution. I’m not going to make a bunch of excuses of what we didn’t do. They did a nice job of moving their guys up front and causing havoc in our backfield, and we’ve got to give our guys a better plan to continue to run the football and also a better plan to protect our quarterback. They made some adjustments. Our adjustments weren’t as sound as the adjustments they made. We did not respond the way we should. It starts with me. That’s on me. So I’ll take all the blame there. It’s up to us to get that corrected, and that’s what we’re working on now: getting that corrected. Because it’s unacceptable and it should not have happened.”

On if he’s surprised the offensive line wasn’t able to impose its will:


“Yeah, there’s no question. We did not expect that result at all. I think what we more expected is what happened on that first drive – not that the whole first drive was perfect either, and it’s never going to be perfect. But I think we were expecting more of the same. And for that not to happen was unfortunate. That’s what we’re doing here to fix. It starts with coaches. We’ve got to coach better. And once we coach better our players have to play better. But it starts with me first. We’ve got to give these guys a good plan to go out there and execute. We know guys are going to change it up, and when they change it up, we’ve got to be ready to have that next response ready to go.”

On if he was mad, disappointed or confused after the game:

“All of the above. All of the above. No sleep. Did that just happen? Extremely disappointed. Extremely disappointed. It all comes back to myself. We’re going to get it changed, but it starts with me. We’re going to get it changed. We should not have played the way we played on Saturday night, and that’s why I feel so bad for our fans, for our supporters. They should be disappointed. They should be pissed, just like we are. All we can do now is move forward here and make amends, and that’s what we’re going to try to do. That’s what we’re going to try to do. We’re going to work at it, I’ll tell you that. We’re going to work on it. What you can base that on is how we play here moving forward. That’s going to be our test. That’s going to be the result of the hard work we’re putting in, how we’re going to respond from this. That’s what I’d ask our fans to do. Hey, let’s look at this next test, and here we go. Let’s see how these guys have progressed. And then the next one, and then the next one, and then the next one after that. But we’re not happy with what happened last Saturday, and our mission is to correct it.”

On if coaches emphasized that every player’s job is up for grabs:

“I go back to what I always say: I’m an equal opportunity employer. Whoever plays the best in practice is going to play at all positions in all three phases. So I guess my answer to that is, we’re always looking to put the best players out there that are producing in practice and making plays in practice. That’s if we won last Saturday, not just if we lost. That’s every week – every week during the season, the offseason, spring football, training camp. It’s always an open competition.”

On if coaches are emphasizing that even more this week:

“That’s our level already. That’s where we’re at. That’s where we always are. It’s always a competition. It’s always a competition every single week. That’s where we live. “


On the message in the locker room after the game:

“The message was, it was obviously disappointing, we didn’t play our best football, and we know that. We know we didn’t play our best football. And our best football is in front of us. And now we’ve got to go back to work. Now we’ve got to go back to work. And the result was the result, we’re going to be pissed about it, and now it’s got to fuel us. Now it’s got to fuel us. We can’t do anything now — that’s in the past now, that’s already through the time capsule. That’s behind. And I know everyone else wants to focus on what just happened — rightly so, you guys should, and everybody else should, and the fans. You guys can focus on that, that’s awesome. We are going to focus on what’s up next, because if we are still focusing on what happened last Saturday, that’s going to affect us this Saturday. So what we’re doing now, this is the message in the locker room, is now we’re focusing on how we’re going to get better and how we’re going to attack our next opponent and how we’re going to play Husky football the way we’re supposed to play Husky football.”

On evaluating Dylan Morris’ performance and his three interceptions:

“Again, I go back to me and us as coaches, we’ve got to make sure we give him and everybody a better plan so they can operate. It always comes back to coaching first. And that’s how I always think of this. If they’re making mistakes out on the field, it comes back to coaching. We’ve got to make sure they’re not making those mistakes. And so, after looking at the film, Dylan, he got hit a lot. He got hit. Our quarterback cannot get hit that much. He got hit a ton. They called the penalties, but that takes a toll on a quarterback, and it takes a toll on him being able to set his feet in the pocket and successfully deliver a throw. So they did a nice job of hitting him a few times and the penalties were thrown, and then sacked him a few times. And so I think after that. One of the interceptions was a bad throw, but a couple of the other ones, it ended up being a tip, while also a bad throw like location-wise, but ended up tipping off our guy to the wide receiver. I think the last one was more of a force in the two-minute situation. And that we’ve got to get corrected. So to finish off that, we need to come up with a better plan to make sure our quarterback’s protected, not getting hit, so he can make those decisions, make better decisions with the football.”

On how they can improve in the vertical passing game with their wide receiver issues:

“I think that’s more obviously internal of what we’re going to do. I’m not going to tell you what we’re going to do and then all the sudden they’re going to read about it. Does that make sense? So, yeah, it is what it is. Every single year it’s always going to be something. It’s always going to be, there’s going to be a certain issue here, or we’re going to have injuries here, then it’s up to us as coaches to make sure we put a plan together where we can still go out there and win the football game. And so that’s what we’re working on. We’re working on ways we that can play better on offense, defense and special teams, whatever the injury issue that we have, to make sure that we put our team in the best position to win the football game.”

On how he’s handling the spotlight after a loss like this:

“I’ve been coaching for a long time, and been through some hard times, and so I feel prepared for this. Last year was difficult, too, and I’ve been through some really tough seasons. I’ve seen head coaches that I really respect and admire go through really tough, difficult seasons and how they’ve handled it, and I’ve been able to lean on those. It’s rare that you go through a season and you go 12-0. Those seasons usually don’t happen very much for anybody, and you’re going to go through some adversity, but it’s how are you going to respond from it? And all of my experiences in 20-plus years coaching is going to help us through this, what we’re going through right now.”


On if they have enough healthy wide receivers to succeed and if they might consider moving other players to that position:

“So, that’s what we’re working through. Again, a little bit last week as well, knowing that three of those guys weren’t going to play in the last game, so we had a few adjustments here or there, and now we’ve got to make even further adjustments now, knowing the issue that we have with the injury updates that I gave you, so that’s what we’re going to have to do. We’re going to have to build a plan to make sure that we can still go out there and operate, put points on the board and try to get a victory.”

On if there’s a reason why Sean McGrew didn’t play:

“No, there wasn’t at all. Sean is obviously a really good running back and has done a lot of things around here. No. I would expect Sean to get some reps here moving forward. I think it just happened the way it happened. … We were trying to get Rich going a little bit. I think he had over 15 carries or whatever it was, and just trying to get him into a rhythm. So it was more to that. Nothing what Sean was doing. It was more trying to get Rich back into a rhythm during the game.”

On what Lake attributes the lack of pass rush to and his evaluations of the outside linebackers:

“I think, of course we want more sacks. But I also attribute – they had three, almost four holding calls on our pass rush, and almost all of them were on Ryan Bowman. So, we were getting some good pass rush, but they were holding them. So, again, you have to look at that as well. If you guys go back and look at it they were in a lot of 2nd and 20’s, 3rd and 20’s, and then we end up getting off the field on defense. So, those holding penalties in our pass rush serve as sacks if you guys follow what I’m saying there. If you look at the stats we had one sack and that doesn’t look like a lot of production. But I think the rush was there, when you look at the penalties and the sacks. But we still want to get better. We obviously want to get better.” 


 On the thought process behind keeping Dylan Morris in and not bringing in Sam Huard:

“I think us going into it – into the game obviously – in practice the reps are earned during practice. That’s the first thing I’ll say to that. Reps are earned during practice. Just like the question over here. We want to see who is ready to go. Who knows the playbook inside and out, all three phases. Who gives us the most confidence to go out there and make plays. As the game progressed, Dylan still is going to give us the best chance to win that game. He’s the one during the whole week of preparation, and then obviously in training camp and all that, knows our playbooks. Knows our adjustments. Knows how to lead the offense. Dylan Morris is our starting quarterback. So, obviously he didn’t play his best game. We didn’t coach our best game. We didn’t coach our best game. So, that falls back on us first. Dylan Morris is our starting quarterback. We have to give him a better plan to go out there and be successful.”

On Giles Jackson and what he told Lake about why he transferred from Michigan to Washington:

“Well, I’m not going to share exactly what he told me about something like that. All I know is I’m very happy that Giles is here. What he’s done is he’s bought into our culture. He’s an extremely hard worker. We believe he’s given us an added boost in the return game and at wide receiver. He’s going to get better from here.” 

 On if Washington recruited Jackson prior to Michigan:

“We did. We recruited him before, yes.” 

 On Dylan Morris throwing a career-high 46 passes against Montana and where his best number of attempts is:

“It’s all about we’re trying to win the football game. It’s not about, ‘Hey, we need to get this many attempts.’ If he has five attempts and we rush the ball for 60 times and win the game, I’m going to be happy and so is he, okay. If he has 46 attempts and we put up a bunch of points and we win the game, then we’re going to be happy. The volume doesn’t hurt his arm. It was more the circumstances of the game of what we were trying to do at the time when we weren’t getting our running game going. So, I would go reverse. We need to get our run game going so he doesn’t have that many attempts, okay. Try to get some points on the board. That goes back to last year when he didn’t have that many attempts, but we could run the ball. And everyone is mad that we’re running the ball but we’re winning the game, right? Now we’ve thrown the ball too much, we don’t win the game, and ‘hey can we run the ball a little bit more?’ Our mission is to try and win the football game. 


 On if the staff is comfortable with Dylan Morris scrambling:

“We’re completely comfortable with him breaking free. Just like he did last year in the Utah game where he feels the rush, moves out. He’s completely free to run – he’s run for yards. If you watch any of the games he’s started he’s run for yards.” 

On why Morris didn’t run more:

“Like I opened up, I said we didn’t protect him very well. So when a free hitter is coming and they tackle him, it’s pretty hard to scramble when a guy’s tackling you. Like I said, we’ve got to protect him better. It starts with us as coaches first.”

On Nate Kalepo playing right guard in the second half:

“I think it was good experience for him to get in there and play a little bit. He’s still got a lot of room to grow and develop. He knows that. But he did some solid things, but also his play wasn’t perfect. Just like a lot of guys up front.”

On if he believes this team’s leaders are not going to allow this loss to snowball:

“No question. I believe this is some of the best leadership that we have on our team. You’ve already seen it even in the locker room after the game. Yesterday, all during yesterday, and even today. We have extraordinary leadership on our team. This does not sit well with them. This does not sit well with our team. They’ve gone back to work already. But we’re not going to talk about it; we need to go show it. We need to go show the type of Husky Football that we play. But all we can do is go do it now.”


On the importance of quickly turning fan discontent around:

“It’s very important. We’re so excited for them to come back after not being in Husky Stadium since 2019 and the Apple Cup. Disheartening and disappointing by us, the performance that we put out there when they all came out in droves to come see us. I take that to heart and we need to fix that. They should be pissed, they should be upset, they should be frustrated, disappointed. It’s up to us, starting with me, to correct that.”

On if he can remember a similar game that was an early season wakeup call:

“I’m so in the present right now, I apologize.”

On if he sees this game as a wakeup call:

“Of course. I think we need to go play football the way … we have a lot of guys that played here last year during our four-game stint where it still wasn’t perfect, but we had a lot of positive things go on as well. They know what it’s supposed to look like. We’re hoping to play even better … we should be playing better than that. And that’s what’s so disappointing. We should be playing better than what we put out on tape in 2020, and we didn’t do that. That is the goal, to get back to work and make sure all the work we put in shows up on film.”

On Michigan QB Cade McNamara:

“He’s a great decision-maker, he can make all the throws. They did a nice job with him. First, they ran the football and made it very easy for him to dish the ball out after running the ball for over 300 yards against Western Michigan. He didn’t attempt many passes against Western Michigan, didn’t need to. But they won the football game. It goes back to our prior conversation. He looks like a good decision-maker, can make all the throws, made an awesome throw versus a zero blitz, which was about a 60-yard touchdown pass, last Saturday. He’s a quality, quality quarterback that we’re going to be ready to defend.”

On being the first road game and how that affects preparation:

“Our preparation will remain the same, except we are going to leave early, being an east coast game. We’re going to leave on Thursday, so that does change. Normally when we’re playing a road game out here out west we’d leave on a Friday for a Saturday game. We’re going to go out there and we’re getting out there earlier and practice during our game time. Our game time is at 8 o’clock their time, so get our guys acclimated for two days and play at the same time on Saturday night. In terms of our preparation, our structure and practice, that’s going to remain the same. It’s just more of, we’re going to be on a plane and we’re going to go practice on a different field than normally right here at home and leave on a Friday.”

On Michigan running back Blake Corum:

“He’s a special player. He’s not just a running back, he’s a returner. We’re going to have to be ready for him in the special teams department and also at running back. He’s shifty. Reminds us a lot of Myles Gaskin in his body type, his height, how he sees the linebackers and safeties in the box and how he’s able to make them miss. That’s always a great quality in a running back is making people miss. And he does a really good job of making people miss in the return game, but also at running back.”