For the first time in 20 years, the No. 5 Huskies are the road favorite heading to Eugene on Saturday. And for many Huskies fans, "Beat Oregon" is the No. 1 priority in any season.
Washington coach Chris Petersen has no plans to mention to his team the Oregon Ducks’ 12-year stranglehold over the Huskies.
“I don’t know why I’d do that,” Petersen said.
For the first time in 20 years, the No. 5 Huskies (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) are the road favorite heading to Eugene for Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. kickoff at Autzen Stadium (FOX). And for many Husky fans, “Beat Oregon” is the No. 1 priority in any season.
“You hear that a lot. So we get it. We know it’s important,” Petersen said. “But all these games are important. I mean, I want our guys to just do what they’ve been doing — just preparing hard and staying focused on the right things and showing up on Saturday with great energy and playing as a team.
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“You can’t tell them, ‘OK, now we’re going to prepare really hard.’ That’s ludicrous.”
The Ducks (2-3, 0-2) are reeling. They’ve lost three in a row for the first time since 2007, they’ve been battered by injuries, and many Oregon fans are clamoring for coach Mark Helfrich‘s head.
But when it comes to the heated Washington-Oregon rivalry, one Ducks coach remains as confident as ever.
“As a coach I know we’re supposed to preach the faceless opponent, but it’s Washington,” longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood told reporters Monday, according to The Oregonian. “It’s a big, big game. It’s a rivalry. We’ve had the upper hand and we intend to keep that for the next several years.”
“The streak’s not going to end,” he added.
Petersen, meanwhile, has made his players off-limits for media interviews this week. He’s also done that the past two seasons during the week leading up to the Apple Cup, but he insisted Monday that the no-interview policy is not related to the rivalry games.
“It has nothing to do with the opponent,” he said. “It has to do with us — it always has to do with us. It’s never about the opponent.”