UW head coach Jimmy Lake met the media for his first game week press conference of the season on Monday, five days before his team meets Cal at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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

“Good morning everybody. Again, I wish I could see you guys in person. I do miss you guys, and that is the truth. Hey, it’s game week. Here we go. We’re finally here, and our team’s excited. Our staff’s excited. I know you guys are excited. I know our fans are excited. It’s been a long time coming and so many ups and downs during this year. Our team has put so much work in to get to this point and you can just feel the excitement in meetings and in practice. We cannot wait to get this thing kicked off on Saturday night. You know, training camp was a success. We really enjoyed the format that we put together. We wanted to get these guys prepared for a season, and I feel like our guys feel like they’ve already played probably two to three games. It was a physical training camp. Our guys got some bumps and bruises, but that’s OK. We want to feel that way going into a game no matter what the year is, but especially right now in 2020. I think the Pac-12 did a really good job of making it able for us to ramp up for two weeks and then have a true training camp. The Dawgs are ready to go. We feel confident. We feel prepared. In all three phases, we are ready for this game week.

UW football players practice at Husky Stadium on October 16, 2020.  215364

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“I’ve got a couple more announcements here. You guys know that we are 100% registered on our team. We all registered to vote, and I’m happy to report that over 90% of our team has voted. So we are so excited about that. And just like I told the team, ‘Do your research. It doesn’t matter which circle you’re picking, locally or nationally. Just do your research and vote. It’s your American right to vote and make sure you exercise it. I’m proud of our guys. Over 90% of our guys have voted, so I’m extremely proud.

“Last thing here, and then I’ll open it up to questions. We have a roster update. Taj Davis has opted out, and we respect his decision. We’re going to support him. He’s always going to be a Dawg. We hope we can get him back here shortly. And just like with those other two guys who have opted out over coronavirus concerns, we support those guys and we are here for them. Taj, we love you and we can’t wait to get you back. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.”

On the starting quarterback decision:

“Yeah, great question. Great question. We will find out at about 7:34 PT, right around there, on Saturday night.”

On how his team came out of the last scrimmage:

“I was extremely excited. I’ve been telling the team, we’ve been making plays in all three phases throughout training camp. We finished in a high note in our last preseason game No. 4. Just a fistfight going back and forth – offense making plays, defense making plays, special teams making plays. I love that competitive atmosphere. I know the guys can feel the competition brewing week in and week out and we’re excited to go swap paint with another jersey and another helmet now, going against somebody else.”

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On if the Cal game holds special significance after the last two defeats:

“Cal’s a really well coached football team and they’ve got really good players and it’s going to be a slugfest. I think coach Wilcox has done a really good job of establishing his culture there. And since he’s took over they play really solid defense and their offense does a good job of possessing the football and scoring when they need to, which is a huge change from the prior staff before he arrived there. I think year in and year out, as long as that coaching staff’s in place it’s going to be a challenging game. The last two games have been brutal defensive fights to the end, and I’m expecting the same thing to happen this Saturday night.”

On how his team has tackled and prepared physically in camp:

“We definitely tackled more than we ever have in the past year in this training camp, just to get these guys ready to go – especially with us playing seven games guaranteed. We didn’t feel like we were going to get too banged up (in camp), and thankfully we did not. So now we feel like we’ve got two, three games under our belt before we actually play our first Pac-12 game. But like I said earlier, the two games against Cal have been defensive slugfests. We’ve run the ball well against them. They’ve run the ball well against us. But they’ve both been very low-scoring games and I think both teams are built almost the same way, and I think you’re going to see another good, well played game this Saturday night.”

On the value of playing multiple QBs and what makes them easy or difficult to prepare for:

“From a defensive perspective, it definitely keeps you off balance. All you have to do is look to the New Orleans Saints and they’re doing it pretty well right now, playing two quarterbacks. That keeps defenses off balance. You don’t know what to expect. Now for sure, if we’re set up this way, and we’ll see if we are, and we’ll see if we’re not. If there’s a guy that can just take over the reins and be the guy, then he’ll be the guy. But from a defensive standpoint, if there’s a guy back there that can just take control, that’s difficult to defend. If there’s a two-headed monster back there, that’s difficult to defend. We’re going to do whatever’s best for our team to make sure we get victories here in 2020.”

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On his personal emotions heading into his first game as a head coach:

“I am just extremely excited for our staff and our players. All the work behind the scenes of going through all these new protocols and getting into the building, getting out of the building, if somebody does test positive or it’s a false positive, there’s just so many things. Cleaning equipment, our medical staff, our strength and conditioning staff, our administration, to just allow us to get back in the building and start working on football again and then all these new things that our players are having to deal with on a daily basis, filling out their daily attestation, it’s just been a process. So I’m just excited for our guys and our staff to go out there and play football, play this game that they love, that they prepare for 12 months every single year and just let it loose on Saturday night. I can’t wait for kickoff, for kickoff return, whatever it is. I can’t wait to see the smiles on everybody’s faces.”

On if UW has received clearance from local health officials to have players’ parents at Husky Stadium for games:

“I have not heard any update on that. Hopefully, as you guys know, we are pushing for that. We think the parents and families of our players should be able to watch their sons play here in Husky Stadium. We have a huge stadium, 72,000. It would be great just to get them all spaced out. We’ve seen other teams that have been able to do that across the country and even in the NFL. We definitely are trying to work towards that. Our administration has worked tirelessly to try to get that done. But at this point there is no update, and as soon as we get one we’ll let you guys know.”

On Richard Newton’s growth in camp:

“Really excited about him. He had a really good camp. He’s put on some weight, which we like. He was a younger guy and now he’s a third-year guy, getting older and putting on more muscle. He’s always been able to see the hole and hit it. I think he still has that finesse way of knowing when to turn it on and when to back it off. I’m excited for him, again, to go against somebody that doesn’t have purple and gold on, because he’s been beating us up pretty good during training camp. I’m excited for Rich’s season.”

On how UW can have more success against Cal, and how to make their offense harder to defend:

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“What I mean by that, when offenses are hard to defend they’re always stressing the defense. That’s what I mean by that. This year is completely different than any of the last two years. There’s different coordinators. There are different players. This is a different team, just like they have a different team. So we don’t focus on what has happened in the past. We’re focused on right now and what we can do to prepare ourselves to come out with a victory this Saturday. The guys have come to work every single day and they’re learning our schemes and learning the way we practice and preparing. We’re still in the early moments of this week. We’ve still got lots of work to do before we head to Berkeley.”

On other tight position battles besides QB:

“Again, I think you guys have heard me say this over and over: I’m an equal opportunity employer. And if you show you know our techniques and scheme in all three phases, you’re going to move up the depth chart. There’s guys who have moved up the depth chart. I’m not going to mention those guys right now, but we’ve had a bunch of competitions across our whole team. The guys have continued to show up week in, week out. If you do it in practice, you’re going to do it in games. We put so much credit on what happens in practice to reward those guys for making plays in practice, and they’ll get playing time. So you’ll see those guys get playing time this Saturday.”

On the importance of UW’s leaders this camp:

“We have some extraordinary leaders: Elijah Molden, Keith Taylor, Jaxson Kirkland, Cade Otton. Those four guys just jump off the top of my brain of guys that have just done it the right way on the field, off the field, through tumultuous times – we’re shut down, we can’t do anything, to OK now we’re back to playing football. Those guys never flinched. They never flinched. They’re here for their brothers. They’re here to support their brothers. We definitely wouldn’t be where we’re at right now if it wasn’t for those four guys. And now we’ve got a bunch of young leaders in the making – guys that are juniors, sophomores, even freshmen, that are our there doing it the right way. I can’t wait for them to go out there and do it the right way on game day so they can get even more cred from their teammates and their coaches.”

On UW’s stable of running backs:

“Exciting room. Really exciting room. We have a stable, like coach Bhonapha likes to label them. We have a stable of running backs. Two seniors who have played a lot of football around here in Kamari Pleasant and Sean McGrew. Obviously we’ve already talked about Rich Newton and Cam Davis. We’ve got the two young guys. We’ve got some guys. We’ve got some guys back there, and coach Bhonapha’s done a heck of a job of recruiting that room. We’re going to do whatever helps us win football games. If that’s one guy and he’s hot, we’re going. But you guys know we play more than one and you’ll see more than one on Saturday night. But whatever we can do to get those guys on the field, get them in position to make plays, move the chains and score touchdowns is what we’re going to do.”

On if there have been any long-term or season-ending injuries:

“No.”

On if the QBs and/or the team know who the starting QB is yet:

“Like I mentioned before, it really doesn’t help us to announce anything like that going into a game. I know from a defensive perspective, if we know who the starting quarterback is then we can plan for that guy. So I really want to talk to our fans here, because I know our fans are excited and believe me, we’re all excited and we can’t wait to run out there on Saturday night and play really hard for you guys. But what we’re never going to do here is release information that hurts us. By us releasing that type of information, it only hurts us. It doesn’t help us. We’ll all know here soon enough and we can’t wait to play really hard for you guys on Saturday night.”

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On what his relationship was like with the QBs when he was a defensive coach:

“I’ve always had a good relationship with the quarterbacks. Obviously before I was in this role I was always quick to point out who we intercepted the most. I was always going to go over into warmups and go, ‘Hey, I’m getting you today. We haven’t got you yet. We’re going to make sure we pick you off today.’ So we always had a good back and forth and had a lot of fun with each other and of course they would throw it in my face when they threw a touchdown against my defense too. So it’s always been a good back and forth. I’ve got a good relationship with those guys right now. Now I’m definitely cheering for them more than I have in the past, but also going against them too and challenging them the right way and pushing the right buttons. I’m excited for these guys to go out there, and all this hard work they’ve been doing behind the scenes and at practice, I’m excited for those guys to go out there and get it done in a game.”

On if he’s ever been involved in a game like last year’s against Cal, and what he did in the delay:

“For the people who lived in Florida, you would not be surprised. In my time in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers we had a bunch of lightning delays. Tampa is the lightning capitol of the world. More lightning touches down in that city than anywhere in the world, from what I’ve heard. I don’t know if that’s a fact but I’ve heard that. It’s said in Tampa a lot. So we had a bunch of delays in games. We had to go back to the locker room and do exactly what we did here last year. I’m a huge coffee drinker as it is. I drink coffee in the morning, the mid-morning, the late afternoon and the evening. So I think I probably did have a cup of coffee at one point. Then really my job was to keep my guys focused and dialed in and keep them energized and go back to what we had just seen and what they were coming out with and try to make adjustments. It was basically like a halftime. (I tried) to just keep those guys juiced and energized. It was a great college football game. You go back to my (interview) last year, and I’m pretty sure I said that. It was a great college football game, and unfortunately the Dawgs came out on the bottom end of it.”

On what has been the most difficult thing to manage as head coach:

“Great question. I think it is an easy answer. It’s been the schedule change, for sure. My executive assistant can tell you that. It was, ‘OK, this is what we’re doing this week.’ Then all of a sudden something would turn in the pandemic and we would have to scrap all of the plans and redo it again. Our schedule … I can’t tell you how many times we’ve changed our schedule – between meetings, guys’ lifts. ‘Now no, nobody can come here. The pandemic’s hitting.’ Now we’re playing Stanford. Now we’re not playing Stanford. Everyone’s dealing with it. But for sure the most challenging thing right now has just been the change of the schedule. Because I know as an assistant, and our players, they want to know what the schedule is so we can all be on the same page. So when it was constantly changing, just a rollercoaster of changes, that was obviously a challenge. But Amanda (his assistant) did a great job. We know any year after this, as long as there’s not a pandemic, the scheduling’s going to be a breeze.”

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On if he’s been in touch with Chris Petersen in the last few months:

“We’ve definitely stayed in contact. He’s left me voicemails – very encouraging voicemails during this tumultuous 2020 year that we’ve all had. We’ve traded text messages back and forth. He’s been a great support for me. I know he will always continue to be. And I know he’s going to be glued in I’m sure on Saturday and watching the Dawgs go out there and try to get a victory. But coach Pete has been a close friend of mine and he’s been a mentor of mine and he will continue to be. We definitely have stayed in contact and will continue to stay in contact.”

On if UW can announce anything regarding their name, image and likeness plans:

“Not at this point. We definitely have a plan. We have a whole executive team that’s preparing what we will be able to do once the legislation passes. The University of Washington athletic department will definitely be ready once all that passes with what the rules and regulations will be. But we don’t want to release anything until we know what the rules are. So some other teams are doing that. They don’t know what the rules are going to be. I know I don’t know what the rules are going to be right now and I don’t think the NCAA knows what the rules are going to be. So once we figure out what those are … we will take advantage to the fullest whatever the rules are going to be for the NIL. When the NCAA changed the rules on how much you can feed the players and how much you can spend on feeding the players, guess what we did here at UW? We spent more money on food than anybody in the Pac-12. Our guys eat great. Our guys have gained weight and they’ve gotten stronger, but we’re doing it under the rules. So the same thing. I’ll tell you this: other people might be releasing videos and this and that and the other. When the rules get announced and this thing changes, we will be at the forefront and make sure we exhaust every single thing we can do to make sure our team and our athletic department is head and shoulders above the competition.”

On Cal running back Christopher Brown Jr. and quarterback Chase Garbers:

“Let me go with the running back first. He’s a big running back, like I told you guys I like big running backs. He’s a big running back and he runs hard. He runs with square pads downhill and he’s tough to tackle. That’s plain and simple. I like tough football players, and he’s definitely one of them. And then their quarterback, he’s the most tenured quarterback in the Pac-12. He has played more than anybody else has and has more starts. So we have quite the challenge. In the first game of the 2020 season, the most tenured quarterback in the Pac-12 going against our defense. Besides his experience, what makes him really good is he’s accurate with the football. He’s detailed with the football, where he’s going with it. And then if it’s not there he can also move the chains with his legs. He’s been known to do that every single game he’s been playing. So we have a heck of a challenge in front of us.”

On what it’s been like to be around the offense:

“I love it. I love it. It’s definitely been quite the experience, to be able to sit there in both meetings now and be able to watch both from a different perspective and be able to give my two cents to our offensive staff about what causes defenses issues. That’s been fun for me. And then watching our defense struggle with it in practice, and now I can kind of laugh at it. That’s been fun. I think we all grow as coaches. We’ll continue to grow. That’s one of our anchors around here, just constant growth and improvement. I’ve really enjoyed that aspect of being able to be with the offensive coaches and just lend a hand the way I can, saying, ‘If you do this, this causes issues. This is extremely difficult, and the defense is going to see it this way.’ They’ve listened and it’s definitely been a joy and a different perspective for me.”