UW head coach Jimmy Lake met the media Monday to preview his team’s (new) season opener against Oregon State, which will be played inside Husky Stadium at 8 p.m. PT on Saturday (FS1).

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

“Good afternoon everybody. First thing, I just want to talk about obviously the news of the cancellation last week. It was obviously disappointing, but this is the reality that we’re living in right now in 2020. I found out right after I met with you guys on Thursday. It’s never good when you have a number of missed phone calls from Jen Cohen. So I found out the news. We had an emergency team meeting about 45 minutes after that and I let the team know. They were extremely disappointed, but I’m proud of them. They did not flinch. They did not flinch one bit. We reshuffled our schedule and ended up practicing on Saturday and Sunday, and I loved the way the guys responded. They came out to practice with energy and focus. They just understand that this has been a rollercoaster ride, and we’re going to expect another dip at some point too. There’s going to be highs and lows, and I’m obviously really proud of how the team responded.

“The other thing I wanted to address obviously is also midday Friday we heard the news of the cancellation of Arizona and Utah. I know our administration and Arizona’s administration were int talks of possibly trying to slap something together at the last second, but logistically it just couldn’t work out. I know both sides wanted to get it done. This isn’t pickup basketball where it’s just like, ‘Hey, let’s go play in three hours.’ There’s a lot of logistics going on. There’s people’s pads and equipment being shaped. Obviously they were getting things shipped to different locations. Obviously that was going to be very, very hard to pull off. I do think in the future if teams know earlier in the week, we could get this thing done if there’s going to be cancellations all along the way. But that would have been a logistical nightmare and it just couldn’t happen.

“So now all of our focus has completely shifted. Thursday night it completely shifted to Oregon State. We are well into a week of our preparation for our next opponent and we are excited to play that game this Saturday night at 8 o’clock. And my last couple updates here is an update on our injuries and my quarterback situation. They are exactly as they were last week. All right, I’ll open it up to questions. Here we go.”

On what his willingness would be to play an opponent with 24-48 hours notice:

“It’s really not the game plan part of it. It’s really more the logistics of getting the team to that city, getting a hotel for close to a hundred people, getting meals ready for over a hundred people for breakfast, lunch and dinner and another dinner at the last second. Also the equipment truck … I know our equipment truck was on its way to Berkeley on Wednesday, then all of a sudden had to turn around when we found out there was no game. So I can only Imagine, I don’t know what University of Arizona does, but I know we all travel very, very similarly. If we knew today – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – that the game was going to be canceled, I think it makes it way more easy to get things changed and transition. But 24 hours, 48 hours, that’s going to be tough – extremely tough.”


On if he’s much more concerned about there being more cancellations:

“It’s obviously a tough situation. This is what the interesting thing about this whole situation is, is we can do everything in our power to make sure the virus is not in our building, our staff is healthy and our players are healthy. But if our opponent is not healthy week in and week out there’s a chance of us missing games, which we’ve already missed one. It’s a unique situation that none of us have had to deal with. But again, I’m proud of our players. I’m proud of how they’ve responded to this. They responded with great energy on Saturday and Sunday in preparation for our next opponent, and all we can control is making sure the virus doesn’t come into this building and getting ready for our game this Saturday.”

On if there have been discussions about playing Cal on Dec. 19:

“That hasn’t been discussed. The plan from the Pac-12, as you guys know, is the Pac-12 championship will be the day before and then they are going to basically seed the North and the South and the 2 is going to play the 2, the 3 is going to play the 3 and so on and so forth. Currently that’s how the schedule is laid out for us and the whole Pac-12.”

On if there was consideration about playing Alex Cook at DB instead of wide receiver when he first enrolled at UW:

“That’s an awesome question. He was in my office on his recruiting trip when he came to watch a game. He was in my office first on the defensive side of the building and we were recruiting him. We knew he was a really good player on both sides of the ball. But we recruited him as a DB first and then he slipped through my fingers. The offensive side got him first. But as you guys know, I’m always recruiting, and now I’m recruiting on both sides of the ball. But when I was on defense obviously I was always looking at the offensive side of the ball, saying, ‘Hey, we could use that guy. We could use that guy.’ Alex Cook is a really good football player. He showed up for us last year on special teams and we think he’s going to be a really good defender for us. And he has really good hands, which we know that’s a premium here at the University of Washington. We like guys that enjoy scoring and getting the ball back for our offense. So I’m extremely excited for Alex and he’s a heck of an athlete. He’s tough, he’s got really good hands, and I’m excited to see what he’s going to do in 2020.”


On the team’s psyche and how to harness the players’ energy after another cancellation:

“We felt that in Saturday and Sunday’s practice. It was very energized but also a little chippy at times. I know they were ready to go trade some paint, hit some pads that have a different color than their own. You definitely can feel just that little chippiness, little edge. So now we need to harness that. We need to harness that now for our next opponent and get out there tomorrow and have another good practice and have this thing build up until game day on Saturday. And then we have to wait all the way until 8 o’clock. It is what it is and these guys should be fresh and excited and ready to go.”

On if he had to remind his players again to be careful this weekend regarding COVID-19:

“That is a daily discussion. I think I’ve already mentioned to you guys, that’s a daily discussion that we always talk about. What I say to them every day now, I’m sure they’re going to get sick of hearing it but I’m going to still say it, is don’t let your guard down. Do not let your guard down. We shared the Wisconsin scenario. They went I believe it was three months without having one positive, and now – I don’t have the exact number – but I’m told it was in the 20s or 30s of positives, and now they’ve missed their last two games. So now all we can do is try to learn from other people. And yes, that is a daily reminder. And for the rest of this year and until this pandemic is over they will hear that from me and our staff.”

On how the staff has stayed positive through three season opener cancellations:

“At this point it really feels like we’re not surprised anymore. We’re not even surprised anymore. We’re just like, ‘OK, here we go. It’s on to the next. Let’s build a plan and let’s get ready to go.’ That’s all you can do at this point. I tell you what: my assistant, we’re changing schedules at the last second, and we look at each other like, ‘OK. We’ve done this before. Here we go. Let’s do it again.’ That’s just how it has to be, and don’t be surprised by it. As we sit here right now, the schedule could change by the end of the day and I will not be surprised. I will not be surprised. We’ll be ready to move on and go. Like we talked about when the pandemic first started, the teams and the staffs that just keep their head down and keep working and grind through this thing are going to be the ones that come out on top successful. There’s things we can’t control, and the things we can control – like limiting the virus in the building – we’re going to continue to try to do that. And the things we can’t control, we can’t worry about that. So it’s just positive energy forward. There’s going to be something changing here coming up, and we’re going to be ready for it, and we’ll deal with it.”


On if it’s an advantage for UW that Oregon State has played a game and UW hasn’t:

“It goes both ways. Obviously we’re able to see them on tape and they haven’t seen us on tape, so that’s an advantage for us. But also, they’ve played a game and we haven’t played a game yet. So now they have a game under their belt and they’ve kind of been through the whole game scenario of not having fans in the stands and what that feels like. They’ve played against another opponent. We have a bunch of guys that are going to be making their first start, freshmen playing that have never played a college football game before. We haven’t played a game with no fans in the stands, all those things. So there’s an advantages on both sides. But yeah, no question. Us being able to watch them for sure is an advantage, but them having a game up on us is an advantage for the Beavers.”

On how Lake watched the Oregon State game last Saturday:

“It’s actually not as rare as you think. We end up watching a lot of games on Saturdays when our game is concluded and for years past. What we normally do is we just make notes. The TV copy is very hard for us coaches because you can’t see the all-22. But we make notes as we go. There’s something things you can see on the TV copy that you can’t see on the all-22. So we’re always watching those. But yes, this weekend we all watched it. Our players watched it. As a staff, like we always do, we make notes and then of course we can’t wait for the all-22 tape to come in so we can actually sit down and break it down the way we normally would.”

On what Lake’s obligation is to report COVID-19 conditions on his roster to the Pac-12 and the public:

“I only saw the headlines of the (Washington State COVID-19 situation). I didn’t dive too deep into it, which I’m sure you guys have. But we will report on things that we can report on, and also keeping our players’ medical stuff out of the newspaper. So if there’s something we can’t report on because of their personal info, we’re not going to report on it. If there’s some things I can share, and I’ve talked to our medical team and I can share it, I’ll share it.”

On if there’s a public health issue that has to be considered if players test positive for COVID-19:


“If any staff or players are positive, they automatically go into quarantine, just like our general population would go into quarantine. For sure, you guys can be well assured that anybody that’s a part of the University of Washington, if they have been infected or contact traced and been around somebody that has been infected with the coronavirus they immediately go into quarantine. So that still does not have to be publicly reported.”

On if it was exciting to watch Pac-12 football come back:

“No question. I was extremely excited. I was extremely excited that we get the Pac-12 on national TV. I thought that was awesome that that 9 am start, everybody got to see it. I got a lot of text messages from east coast friends (that said), ‘Hey, we get to watch your games.’ I think it was huge. I think it’s going to do well for our conference, the more we’re seen nationally. I told you guys before, I lived on the east coast before and the late games, the late starts, I’d fall asleep when I used to live on the east coast and I didn’t get to watch the Pac-12. So I think those early games, those mid (afternoon) games, it’s good for the conference. They get to see what big-time football is out west. The recruits get to see it. The media gets to see it. The College Football Playoff committee gets to see it. It’s good for the Pac-12. I think the numbers here in the last couple years, our conference has the third-most NFL draft picks of any Power Five conference. There’s only two conferences ahead of us. Then here at the University of Washington, of course, we have the most NFL draft picks in the Pac-12 at UW here. So we have really good players. There’s really good coaches across the whole Pac-12 and there’s really good teams that need to be seen. So yes, I was extremely excited to watch.”

On when the coaches get the all-22 film of their next opponent:

“The next day we’ll start watching it and breaking it down as coaches. But our video guys, I think they’d get it late that night I’m guessing. But I don’t have that exact timeframe. But the next day it’s all ready for us to go and start breaking down.”

On what’s unique about Oregon State running back Jermar Jefferson:


“Another one of those big running back that you guys know I like. He’s a big one. He runs powerful. He runs behind his pads and he’s nifty with his feet at that size. Their O-line and their offensive scheme, they do a really good job of covering people up and pushing guys off the ball. He is definitely one of the top running backs in our conference, and the stats show it. You can just tell he’s also going to be a player that if he keeps doing what he’s doing he’s going to play at the next level as well. We will have our hands full on Saturday night. He’s an excellent football player.”

On whether UW could potentially miss two games because of contact tracing related to one positive COVID-19 test, as may be the case with Cal:

“From the details I’ve heard of what happened down there, that would not happen here at the University of Washington. Our medical advisory team has done an amazing job and our medical team here of just how the contact tracing works and all the protocols that we go through. The exact situation that just happened there would not happen here at the University of Washington.”

On what the atmosphere will be like without fans inside Husky Stadium:

“We’ve gone through it four times now with our preseason games that we’ve had. The atmosphere is going to be with some music in between timeouts, TV timeouts, that sort of thing, then the crowd noise, all the things the Pac-12 is allowing us to do. Anything pregame I’m not really sure of because there’s nobody there. We’re basically entertaining the officials and the TV crew. But during the game for sure, there will be some music. There will be some crowd noise. And the normal sounds you would hear after scores by the University of Washington at least, that’s what you’ll hear. We’ve been through this as a team here. Obviously we cannot replace our amazing fans. But it is what it is in 2020 and we’ll have to deal with it, with the atmosphere that we’re setting up.”

On Oregon State QB Tristan Gebbia:

“Talented player. I remember seeing this player when he was coming up as a recruit. We saw him a little bit last year. He played sparingly last year. He’s athletic. That’s the big difference from the quarterback they had last year. Nothing against him. He’s obviously a really good player. He’s in the NFL now. But he can run and he can spin it. He’s got good size, and any quarterback than can really extend the play with their feet always causes defenses issues. I think this last game they probably admittedly started off a little bit slow. But he heated up and he had some big numbers towards the end and that thing got really, really tight towards the end. So he’s a good quarterback. He can beat you with his feet and he can beat you with his arm.”


On what the team did on Saturday after the game was canceled:

“It was, here we go. All eyes on our next opponent, Oregon State. Full focus on our next opponent. Of course at practice there’s things we need to work on still. There’s things we’re going to need to work on at the end of the year to try to get better. So that was the whole focus, here we go. All right, next opponent. Let’s break out what we know about them, what we don’t know about them, and let’s get better, and let’s get an added practice to prepare for our next opponent.”

On if they discussed the results of the election:

“It’s been very positive. Obviously we had 100% registration and over 90% of our team voted, and I was very clear when I went through this that I wanted to empower them and let them know the power that they have to vote. Whichever circles they’re circling, just make sure they do their research and vote, and I was very proud that over 90% did. I think across the country what you could see is it was one of the highest voting (totals) – the people that registered and participated – in years. So I think that was a huge positive for the United States of America. I’m just proud of our guys that they participated. And other than that, on our team, everybody sees that the whole country spoke and they all voted, and that’s how democracy works. And whoever gets the most electoral votes wins, and that’s how this race ended. So on our team we’ve been clearly open about it. Everybody understands that we have different opinions on both sides of the aisle.”