UW's Chris Petersen joins Alabama's Nick Saban, Clemson's Dabo Swinney and Ohio State's Urban Meyer during a College Football Playoff press conference Thursday in Atlanta.

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Washington coach Chris Petersen joined Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer during a College Football Playoff press conference Thursday afternoon in Atlanta.

Some highlights from the Q&A with Petersen and Saban, who will coach against each other back in Atlanta for the Dec. 31 Peach Bowl:

CHRIS PETERSEN: Thank you. Thanks for having us. The rookie up here, so I’m just kind of eyes wide open, kind of echoing what they say and what they do. On behalf of the Pac-12 and the University of Washington, we’re so thrilled to have an opportunity. Unbelievable challenge playing this great Alabama team and program. But we are so excited. Very appreciative of our administration, our players, our coaches to have an opportunity to get here. Thank you.

NICK SABAN: It’s great to be back representing the University of Alabama. Very proud of our staff, our coaches, our players, all the people at our institution who make our team strong in terms of their support for our student-athletes. I’d like to congratulate the coaches up here and their players for the great season that they have, and I think this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us, all of our players, to be able to compete against the best teams in the country based on their full body of work for this season. We’re excited to be back here and excited to be a part of this again, and I know our players are looking forward to competing against a great, great University of Washington team who had a fabulous year, and Coach Petersen and his staff did a wonderful job.

Q. Nick, there was a report today from USA Today saying Houston was closing in on Lane Kiffin to be their new head coach. Have you spoken to Lane? Can you give us any update on his status?

NICK SABAN: Yeah, I’ve spoken to Lane, and as far as I know, I don’t think anything has been decided about that officially. I’m sure that the University of Houston will make an announcement about who their coach is when they’re ready to do that. We are very supportive of Lane in terms of him having an opportunity to be a head coach again after the great job that he did for us. Hopefully that or some other opportunity will work out well for him so that he gets the opportunity to be a head coach again.

Q. Coach Petersen, just wondering what you thought of Alabama’s defense now that you’ve had a chance to watch them a little bit.

CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, I watched them a little bit, so I was coming out here today on the plane, and I know about their offense, and I know about their defense. Didn’t get real excited about watching them, so I put on their special teams, and I was even more depressed showing up here today. So I think that puts it in context for you. I mean, they’re — it’s that thing. And I know you hear this all the time from coaches, it’s like, yeah, they’ve got great players, they’re well-coached, these teams that have done well. But I think you put that tape on, and they’ve got really good players and they don’t give you anything. I mean, they’re excellent. There’s a reason that they’re ranked how they are.

Q. For Coach Saban, do you expect Lane Kiffin to be with the team through the College Football Playoff?

NICK SABAN: We’ll make that decision when we have something to make a decision about, and we’ll do what’s best interest for Lane, for our program, our players. But I think he’ll want to finish the season with us, but I can’t speak to that right now because we haven’t discussed something that is a hypothetical situation to this point. And I’m not going to answer any more questions about hypothetical situations.

Q. Coach Petersen, you’ve helped turn Washington around. You’ve pulled off some big upsets in your career, but how are you going to embrace the underdog role going into the game with Alabama?

CHRIS PETERSEN: You know, like we do any game really. We’re just going to study tape, like Coach Saban is saying, try to figure out the best way to practice our guys with a combination of getting better but also getting them fresh and healed up and ready to play a really big game. I mean, I think that’s one of the things that I think coaches have different philosophies on in terms of this time that we have, so much time between when you play, some guys like to practice a whole bunch, some don’t, and I don’t know what the right answer is, but I think we’re always trying to tinker with that and figure out what the best thing for our players is.

Q. This is for the two coaches in the Chick-Fil-a Peach Bowl. Coach Petersen, I guess it’s made for Alabama for this to be an advantage for them to play in Atlanta. Do you see that as a disadvantage for your team coming so far from home? And Coach Saban, your record in the Georgia Dome is just incredible; what do you like about playing in Atlanta?

NICK SABAN: Well, first of all, we certainly appreciate the hospitality that we get when we come to Atlanta. I don’t think that any of the success that we’ve had in the past is going to have any effect on the next game that we have here in Atlanta because — and I don’t really think that there’s any advantage or disadvantage. It’s a neutral-site game for both of us. I think the field when we played there against Florida was 53 yards wide and 100 yards deep, so I think it’ll be that way for both teams. They’re both very good teams with a lot of good players. It’s going to be who can execute the best and play the best with the most consistency, and none of those other things are really going to have a lot to do with the outcome of the game other than what the players do when they play.

CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, I think it’ll be — playing inside is going to be loud any way you cut it, but it’s something we’ve dealt with all year long. I think most of the venues that all of us play in get really loud, and you practice with that all the time. Yeah, it’ll be a challenge. I think it always is. I think the big challenge is not getting too emotional about the whole situation and keeping emotions in check and not letting the pageantry and the emotional part of the game get too big, and that’s easier said than done. But it’s something that we work on all the time.

Q. Coach Saban, what is unique about the University of Washington’s quarterback Jake Browning?

NICK SABAN: Well, I went to California yesterday, so I got to watch Washington all the way out and all the way back. I was very, very impressed with their offense in terms of how they execute, the balance that they have and their ability to run the ball with some very good backs, some very talented receivers. But a quarterback who really understands his offense very well, executes it very well, gets the ball out of his hand quickly, knows when to throw the RPOs and when to hand the ball off and can make plays down the field, as well, and is athletic enough to scramble, extend plays and make plays with his feet. This is probably as good an all-around player at that position that we’ve played against all year long.

Q. Nick, you said you watched tape there and back from California. Overall impressions, first initial impressions of John Ross and Dante Pettis, and what does having two receivers like that do to a defense that can basically do a little bit of everything?

NICK SABAN: I think when you have skill players, good runners, good receivers, good quarterback, and some pretty fair tight ends that they have, they have a lot of options and a lot of weapons on offense, and I think they’re very well-coached, and they do a lot of things to utilize those weapons, and I think that’s always a real challenge when a team has that kind of balance and all those weapons. I think this is by far probably the most explosive, most balanced offensive team that we’ve played all year long.

Q. Coach Petersen, all the other coaches up here have already been in the playoff before, so for you, it’s a bit of a disadvantage. Have you reached out to any coaches who have been in this previously, and what are the plans to approach this game knowing that you possibly have a quick turnaround for another game?

CHRIS PETERSEN: I have not. I’m going to talk to all three of them after this meeting right here and see if they’ll tell me anything. I mean, we have good time to prepare, and it just comes down to preparation. That’s all you can do as a coach is get your guys to watch as much tape for our coaches to put together the best plan we can, to get our guys rested up and ready to compete and go and play another football game, you know, against the best in the country is really what it is. That’s our plan, unless these guys will give me something that they’re holding out on.