Welcome to Oregon Week.

Granted, Washington sixth-year head coach Chris Petersen wasn’t willing to talk much about the rivalry factor during his weekly press conference on Monday. But he commented on a wide variety of topics nonetheless.

Here’s a complete transcript of Petersen’s media session.

“Good to get a win on the road, in Arizona. Hard place to win, both those schools. After the game, was pleased with how our defense started so fast, really did a great job containing two really, really good players in Khalil Tate and JJ Taylor, forcing some turnovers and all those type of things. Extremely impressive. Special teams was solid. Peyton Henry, again, doing a really good job. And I think we’re making strides and progressing each week in that. Second half, finally got a little something going on offense. Hit a couple explosive plays, get a little momentum and rhythm going and that can change some things. As always, we’ve got a bunch of things that we’re working on and better get them tightened up pretty quickly.”

On linebacker M.J. Tafisi:

“MJ is doing well. He came home with us after the game. He’s doing well. He obviously got a significant stinger and our doctors and trainers are so awesome in terms of how quickly they respond, how careful they are with all those type of things. Got him checked out over there in Arizona at the hospital and felt good enough to take him home and got him checked out again here yesterday. He was with us yesterday at the team meetings. That stuff is always scary.”

UW Huskies linebacker M.J. Tafisi ‘doing well’ after ‘scary’ injury Saturday in Arizona

On what that’s like to go through as a coach:

“It’s scary. Anytime you see a guy go down…when the trainers react like that and the doctors, which is the appropriate way to react, they’re very in tune to how guys fall and land and what it’s looking like. They were out there before I even knew anything. It’s unsettling to everybody. But you can kind of see how he was reacting once he calmed down. He was unsettled himself, like what’s going on? By the time they got him off the field, you never know about any of those things, but you felt better. He was moving. But all that stuff is scary.”

On whether Tafisi suffered a concussion:

“No.”

On if he lost feeling:

“I think he was kind of disoriented in what happened. It was a real…when you watch the hit, we looked at it a bunch. It was a shoulder tackle, just like you wanted. Whether his head got into it, that’s sometimes hard to see. But there’s no concussion at this point at least. I think we’re trending in the right direction.”

On the typical recovery time for that kind of stinger:

“A lot of times when it’s that type of injury, it’s been more head-related in my experience. It’s concussion, a guy’s been knocked out for a little bit or something like that, so that’s the concussion protocol, and you set ’em down whatever, a couple weeks to make sure everything’s really good. But it’s not necessarily that, so I don’t really have much experience on this one. I know we’ll be really cautious. We always are. That’s the awesome thing about where we are with this game. Everybody’s on top of this stuff. There’s no messing around with head and neck injuries. Everybody’s going to err on the side of caution, which is exactly what it should be. There are certain protocols they take these guys through in terms of headaches, strength, coming back, feeling, all those things. So we’ll make good and sure he’s darn ready to come back whenever that is.”

Advertising

On if the bye week affects his projected return date:

“I wouldn’t even think like that, I wouldn’t even think bye week. If we had no byes, that wouldn’t factor into this. We would just make sure we’re going to do right by this whole thing, an always erring on the side of caution.”

On Jacob Eason’s halftime speech in the locker room:

“I didn’t hear that.”

On the difference between the first half and the second half:

“It’s a great question. We got into a rhythm, we stayed on the field, hit a couple explosives. It wasn’t like we went in there and okay…we had the same type of stuff on the game plan. Able to make a couple plays and it was great to get Puka (Nacua) in there and kind of sparked us. We really got no momentum going. We talked about this after the game, the red zone was more frustrating than anything. We get huge momentum plays to get the ball, and then we don’t do anything there. That’s almost going backwards, deflating in terms of even kicking the field goal. We’re not willing to do that. So that rattled everybody, the guys. That’s how the first half went, we were just…no rhythm whatsoever. We just didn’t get anything going to stay on the field, didn’t convert third downs, those things. In the second half it got a little better.”

On Arizona not going for two when they were down 24:

“We’re sometimes making sure we’re ready to play two-point defense if we need to so that come up a little bit. Then we saw them run the PAT team out there and that was that.”

On if he would have gone for two in that situation:

“It’s hard to say. I think everybody’s got to feel their time, their team, what their situation is. When we got that six points off field goals then all of the sudden things are kind of off a little bit. You’re going, OK, if we score here or if we kick another field goal, when’s the two-point thing come into effect? Then there’s always, do you want to mess with it in the first half? Do you want to mess with it in the second half? We’re kind of always paying attention to that.”

Advertising

On Jaxson Kirkland’s status:

“He, early on, kind of got rolled up a little bit. We’re still figuring him out a little bit. It’s not anything long term and we’ll see how how he looks tomorrow.”

On Henry Bainivalu’s play:

“I thought once he got settled in, that guy can play. There’s no question about it. He’s been getting a lot of reps in practice then you get out in the game and it’s a little bit different: little bit loud, little bit noisy, little bit money on the line 3rd-and-one, those types of things. I think it’s good for him to go through basically that whole game and get game reps.”

On Puka Nacua’s impact:

“One of the things I enjoy most about Puka is really the energy that he brings. You see it in making plays and that’s awesome. But he’s a really great energy guy since he’s been here. He’s really good in the locker room. For a freshman, to fee him like we do is great. Now it’s awesome that we’re getting him more involved and he’s making plays. He was a guy that sparked so much of it.”

On Matteo Mele starting at center:

“I think he did a nice job. That center position, obviously in the o-line they’re all important, but I think that center position makes a lot of calls going on, lot of different things, lot of snap count things, lot of adjustments almost every play whether it’s run or pass. It kind kind of all gets driven, a lot of it through the center. I thought he was very solid.”

On how important is speed at inside linebacker (referencing Ariel Ngata):

“I mean, I don’t know if there’s a position that’s not speed of paramount. I really don’t. In this day and age in football. Maybe the nose guard. He’s got to be fast from A gap to B gap. But the rest of the guys just have to run. I think sometimes you think back to linebackers, you know, they have to be stout and they do. But so much is the lateral game and vertical game, passing, all those type of things. He’s got good physical ability when it comes to those things.”

On what allowed UW to get pressure with base 3-man fronts at Arizona:

“I think a lot of times guys are just winning their one-on-one blocks. I think that’s what it comes down to. Sometimes the guys get doubled, and those are always going to be hard to win. But a lot of times when you’re getting pressured like that it’s going to be the guys getting singled up make plays one on one and get off blocks. I think that’s what was happening. The nice thing to go along with that was guys that were getting pressure – you know Khalil Tate is so… that’s part of his game. Not part of the game, a lot of his game is not so much just the quarterback run in terms of the run game. It’s the pass game where he’s running around finding guys. So I think our coverage was really good. Guys staying on guys. A lot of times those – (Joe) Tryon, Ryan Bowman and all those guys were running sideline to sideline to make sure he was getting rid of that ball.”

On Kevin Sumlin’s postgame comments that UW showed defensive looks they hadn’t prior to Arizona:

“Yeah I don’t know about exotic. But there’s always going to be little wrinkles that we get going. You get this deep into the season, you can see certain things or if there’s tendencies or anything like that you try to bring something to the table without messing your guys up. That’s always a fine line.”

On how freshman safety Asa Turner played in his first start:

“Like I said after the game, I thought Asa played real well. But what I was saying after the game is every time Asa had been in the game, starting with the BYU game even though it was kind of end of the game. Not super pressurized situation he goes out and picks the ball off and the next game he gets in for a handful of reps in more meaningful time and did a nice job. So he is slowly just like, one of those guys it’s so awesome to see. You see him practice well and you put him in the game and it translates. It doesn’t always translate but it really has been for him. So I think it was awesome to get him in there a bunch and I think the confidence will keep building.”

Advertising

On Jacob Eason and any aspect of his game that Petersen would like to see an uptick:

“Yes. All those things. I do. I think all that. He’s doing a nice job. But like he said afterwards, he’s more on the reserve side. When that ball is in your hand naturally a lot of guys are going to be looking to you and your voice. The number one way to lead is to lead through example. Play good and do your job which he’s been doing. But it’s also nice when he starts kind of speaking out a little bit and bringing something to the table there. Then game management is always something. We’re always changing certain things. I do think he’s an accurate thrower. He showed that. But there’s always going to be a few throws where it’s like ‘wish that was a little more accurate’.”

On if Eason taking initiative at halftime to talk to the team at halftime was a good sign:

“I think that’s always a good sign. Yeah.”

On if Petersen has seen an instant moment where a prior QB of his came out of his shell:

“Yeah I think it’s a slow process. I think the one thing about that is there is a bunch of different type of leaders, right? You got to be who you are. You’re not going to all of a sudden stand on the locker room stool and give a fire and brimstone talk. That’s just – that’s just not going to happen. For a lot of our guys. But that’s okay. But it really is getting out of your shell a little bit and helping others. That’s what the leadership thing is about. Serving your program, your teammates. So I always think about that. I always think that’s such a weird question. I always get that. It’s like ‘so and so is playing well. It’s like that guy is really becoming a leader’ and I always… like what? What are you talking about? Are you in the locker room? Are you on campus and seeing what he’s doing there, because that’s to me what the leadership thing is about. We got performance, and then we got the leadership type of things. It’s nice when a guy is performing at a high level, doing his job because then a lot of guys are going to pay attention to him. But to me, they’re a little bit mutually exclusive and a guy gets more credibility when he’s performing at a high level. More ears are going to pay attention to them. But I think they’re different things.”

On Oregon’s secondary:

“Starts with good players. They’ve got some guys back there who have played for a couple two, three years. Andy is going a great job. Known Andy for a long time. He’s an awesome coach. He has those guys very dialed in. It starts there and then their pass rush they’re a physical group. They just work. They’re a rugged group, even if you’re blocking them, they keep working. They’ve got some guys who have a lot of skill. It kind of all fits together. You have to have good pass coverage, you can’t hold the ball forever and you can’t hold the ball on these guys.”

Advertising

On UW’s running back mix against Arizona:

“I think it’s good. They’re definitely different type backs. I thought Sean McGrew ran well again. I thought Salvon was solid as well. But there was one play, I think it was 3rd and 3 or 4 and we had an assignment error and there were two guys who hit Sean at the line of scrimmage and he somehow split them and fell forward. To me that was one of the more impressive runs I’ve seen in a long time. That was awesome. Like we’ve said for a long time, I think he’s got good vision, he’s slippery through there and I think he’s playing at a nice level for us.”

On if he ever tried to lure Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos to UW:

“I think all the guys when we came over here, you know, Scott Huff the same way, those have always been my guys. And so then it’s always about what’s best for them and sometimes when guys move or guys stay they get more responsibility one place or another. When he stayed he was going to get a lot more responsibility staying there so that’s why he did. He’s a heck of a coach.”

On Avalos’ style:

“Well, I haven’t been with him for a while in day to day operations. He is always a guy, he’s a great guy, a guy who fit into the staff wonderfully, so everybody likes him. And he’s smart. He’s one of those guys that has stayed on a constant state of improvement and figuring out how to do it a little bit better but stayed true to your roots and what you believe in fundamentally and philosophically and all those things. Those guys play at a high level. There is not assignment errors going on out there. You’re not going to get anything easy on them. They’ve got good players and they’re not going to … anything.

On the rivalry aspect of this game:

“When I first got here that was always the question. Everywhere you go there is that question. So it’s like, ‘really? You’re good if we don’t pay attention to Stanford? You’re good if we don’t pay attention to …’ I just don’t think like that. To me it’s like Arizona is the most important thing in our lives last week. Now we’re on to this and that’s just how we operate. The rivalry thing is great for fans and all those types of things. I think rivalries get going when teams have good games against each other and it’s back and forth and we’ve had some good games here the last few years. “

On how Oregon’s offense has changed the past few years:

“This is the pistol offense. So it’s much, much different. And so that’s the difference. That’s a different scheme and they put their own version on it from what coach (Chris) Ault was running at Nevada. Jim Maestro was there with Chris Ault and those two guys were at the very start of that whole thing. It was amazing. I remember when it came out and we were like when it first happened like ‘what is this.’ And then we experienced it for four years with Colin Kaepernick and he was running for a bazillion yards and throwing for a bazillion yards and we saw it from the ground up and how it evolved and all those thing. Fast forward, they have their unique spin on it but it’s a power run game and I think that’s what, any type of spread team, first and foremost, 99 percent of them want to be a run team, run the ball. That’s how it was when Chip was there and Mike Bellioti, back when, not the pistol but the spread he was running the heck out of the ball. When you’re doing that throwing the ball is much easier. And so they have their style of running the ball. It’s a run first team and they have a great quarterback back there to complement it.”

Advertising

On managing Cameron Williams’ confidence:

“That’s hard on anyone. But Cam will be in the mix. He’s going to be a really good player for us, there’s no doubt. You don’t play as much as he played and as much good football … I think that whole game just kind of went. We were not planning on playing him only a couple plays. It’s just kind of how the game went. But he’s been awesome. He’s been working, and he will be in the mix and he will be a factor for us.”

On Ty Jones’ status:

“We’re getting to that point in the season where you’re kind of trying to figure out what you want to do with him, how you want to play him, all those type of things – whether it’s the last of the games or you pick and choose your games, and how he factors in. Because he has really not been factored in at all. So, yeah. We’re kind of in that figuring it out process.”

On if his hand is healthy enough to play:

“No, he can play. He can play. Yeah. He’s been practicing full-speed for a couple weeks.”

On if Jones wants to redshirt:

“Yeah. Yeah. You get so far into the situation. I think players always think a little different than coaches, and we’re all in this together. But you never know what’s going to happen down the road, too, where a guy says, ‘Well, I want to redshirt.’ OK, what happens if something happens the next year? All of a sudden you can be in the same situation where you can’t redshirt. There’s redshirt rules, medical rules, to get games back and all that, and a lot of times they don’t understand that stuff. But you miss a bunch of significant games and I think guys are thinking, ‘Well hey, maybe it’s best.’ We think that same way too. We kind of got into the gray area with him a little bit, what to do with him.”

On how the four-game redshirt rule adds to the complications:

“I think first and foremost, all coaches like this. I’m still one of them that wants no redshirting rules. But I think it gives guys hope at all positions. The depth thing, as you get into the season you get injuries and you know you’ve got to elevate a guy off the practice squad, so to speak, that hasn’t been playing. So I think it’s a good thing all the way around. It’s good for the players to have the motivation. Now, it is hard for a guy that hasn’t been taking really meaningful reps – whether it’s a freshman you’re going to play. It’s a lot different. There’s a lot of learning and growth and improvement that goes on when a guy is actually in the mix somewhat, traveling with you, as opposed to he’s on the scout team and now we’re going to elevate him up. It looks way, way different.”

On if coaches feel like they need to play guys a couple games during redshirt seasons to keep them motivated:

Advertising

“I don’t think we feel the pressure. I think we’re just always trying to do the right thing by the guy. If they can play and be a significant factor, then you want to play them. But what I think a lot of times happens is early in the season there’s a few freshmen that right from the start are major contributors, and part of that has to do with maybe depth. It does have to do with depth, and the skill/knowledge level that a guy comes in with. Those guys are impressive and rare. But then a lot of other guys, you just kind of build and grow as the season goes on. So they might not be getting a lot (of reps) in the game, it doesn’t look like. But there is a lot of growth going on behind the scenes. I think you could see some of that with Puka a little bit.”

On Oregon announcing that tight end Jacob Breeland is out for the season:

“I think the one thing about Oregon that jumps out is their depth. You really see that on defense, that they’ll play some different guys. I think a lot of places there’s a drop-off when a lot of guys are rotating in. You don’t feel that. I think they’ve stayed relatively healthy, maybe until this last game. You see kind of their same guys. And I think when you play a bunch of guys that takes less reps on and they can do that. But Breeland was a heck of a player. He really was. He’s played for them for a while and all those things. So any time you lose a player like that, you feel bad for the kid.”