UW defensive back Austin Joyner sustained a concussion against Arizona State, Petersen says.
Washington coach Chris Petersen on Monday reviewed the Huskies’ victory over Arizona State and looked ahead to Saturday’s game against No. 20 BYU at Husky Stadium (5:30 p.m., Fox):
(Opening) “Looking at the tape it was a really good performance. Kids played hard. Certain areas we were looking to improve upon, and we did. The offensive line did a nice job of giving Jake and those running backs a chance to get something done. Defense played good taking out some of those wide receivers and N’Keal (Harry), slowing him down a little bit. We were pleased with those guys. Now we’re on to a new and completely different challenge. That’s what we’ve been doing for the last day and a half is looking at our new challenge. And it is completely different than the last one we just saw.”
(On BYU) “The number-one thing is, completely different than what we just saw. I mean, 180 degrees. On defense they’re different, exact opposite. And on offense, the similarity is they really run the ball like Arizona State, did a nice job of running the ball. But this offense is something we haven’t seen and won’t see again in terms of others shifts and motions and fly sweep action. It’s extremely unique, do a nice job with it. It’s a little bit like option football in terms of really making you play assignment-sound. You have to do your job before you can chase the ball. They’ve got a nice system off it, done a good job.”
(On taking pride in shutting N’Keal Harry down) “I think it’s awesome. I think their strategy was a little different too. For whatever reason I don’t think they were really trying to go that direction. They were testing the waters, our guys were on it pretty good, played good defense. But their strategy was to keep it close and maybe shorten the game and be in the fourth quarter and run the ball — and they did that. I thought one of the plays of the game was the play that N’Keal made in the fourth quarter on the punt return, because if we tackle him there I just really think the game is over right there. Just a long way to go on our defense. But he gets the ball almost on the goal line to midfield and they’re able to get something done. We did a nice job containing him and he found a way to make a play and influence the game.”
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(On running back rotation) “There are certain runs we want certain guys to have. If a guy gets dinged or tired or whatever, Coach Bhonapha will rotate those guys. But most of it is done during the week in terms of what we want those guys to get. If somebody carries the ball more than we thought on a certain series and we need to give them a spell we’ll rotate guys in.”
(What are you seeing from Kamari Pleasant?) “He’s a good player. He’s unique in terms of he’s kind of a downhill, hard-nosed runner that can break arm tackles. He’s also done a nice job blocking. We’ve had some stuff in the past where we put him in and he’s just a hard-nosed, old school running back. We like to use him on special teams, he’s getting better there. I think special teams is the ultimate tell-tale. When you see who is on special teams, that tells you who our football players are, whether they’re on offense or defense because it’s football in space. You have to have athletic guys, and especially when it’s an offensive guy because they don’t practice tackling like our defensive guys do. And Kamari is one of those guys that we’re trying to make a run and push him in that direction.”
(On punt/kick coverage issues) “Really good returners. (Britain) Covey, he’s fearless. He’s hard to tackle, and we know about N’Keal (Harry). I mean, we missed four tackles on him. Four guys missed him. So that’s probably the biggest thing, right there. Now, we’ve got to do a better job of corralling and working together and kind of fitting off each other and those type of things. Some of it before was a little bit kick placement, and those things, but Joel (Whitford) put the ball right where we needed it, and we missed four tackles on him. Sometimes your coverage units, they take a minute. Even our kickoff coverage, you don’t practice those things like you need to. So you’ve got to get those kind of reps in the game, and it takes a minute to get up to game speed.”
(On tackling being more of an issue vs. ASU) “We always — there’s not a defense in the country that’s not worried about that. That’s the No. 1 thing you have to be good at. And so you work on it, but you don’t work live on it. You get as close to live as you can, so you get your chance once a week, and game speed is different than practice speed. So you’re always working on it, but it’s never at the game speed. You create space for good athletes, it’s the hardest thing defenders have to do is tackle in space. And one guy can’t make that tackle. If he does, hallelujah. It’s got to be a couple guys owning their leverage and tackling the guy together.”
(On that making Ben Burr-Kirven’s play that much more impressive) “I don’t know if in that regard. He just plays well. We’ve thought that for two years, we really have. He’s showing up maybe a little bit more on the stat sheet than he has in the past. Certainly 20 tackles is rare, and that’s not going to happen all the time, but he does a lot of subtle things that maybe doesn’t even show up on the stat sheet, and he has for a while. He plays at a different speed. He’s done a great job.”
(On Cade Otton coming from a football family) “Cade’s done a great job. I always think it helps when those kids come from football families. I think it’s a bonus when you’re recruiting him. It doesn’t always translate, but a lot of times, and most of the time, I think it does, that they bring a little something more to the table in terms of the football intelligence thing. Cade has done a great job for being a freshman and playing a real difficult position for us. You guys are mentioning his name because he’s catching a few passes, and that’s fine, whatever. That’s not why I’m real excited about him. I think that’s icing on the cake. I’m excited because of all the dirty work he does as a tight end on the line of scrimmage and he’s doing a nice job there, as well.”
(more on BYU offense) “You guys should take a look at the tape. It is extremely different how they’re running the ball. There’s so many spread teams, the zone-read game — there’s none of that. But they have their own unique way to keep the defense honest with this fly-sweep game. Half of it is running the fly sweep and half of it is running the ball. You’re going to see a quarterback take a snap from under center and drop back and throw a pass. How often do you see that? With no play-action. He takes a straight drop and throws it. It’s a unique style. That’s the beauty of college football — you’re always getting something different in terms of everybody’s got their signature way of doing things. Which is different than the NFL, certainly.”
(on BYU defense …) “They’ve done a great job with it. They really have. It’s a unique style, again, where they’re playing really good defense — nobody’s scored a bunch of points on them. They’re super sound, and I think a lot it has to do with their offense and what (their defense) sees all the time — you’ve got to have great eyes and you’re not going to take chances with blitz. They play it tight, they play it in front of you. Sometimes when guys are taking chances with all these different blitzes, if you can pick it up you can get a lot of space out there, you can get a lot of one-on-one type stuff. This is the exact opposite. They’re going to keep things in front. They seem them, they’ve got great help and they’ve got great eyes in terms of the RPO game because of all the stuff their offense goes at them.
(on recruiting BYU QB Tanner Mangum out of Eagle, Idaho …) “Heck of a player. We liked him a lot. I cannot believe he’s still playing college football. I’m like, huh? But he was an awesome kid back in high school even. Just really liked him. Then he went on his mission and then went to BYU. He’s been there a long time, seen a lot of things, seen a lot of defense, played a lot of football. He’s an experienced fifth-year — kind of fifth year — kind of quarterback.”
(On players transferring after four games/redshirt rule) No, I hadn’t really paid attention to that to tell you the truth. I saw a guy who or two transferred but I hadn’t really thought of that.
(on UW’s run defense against ASU) I thought they were solid. That style … and a little bit of the style we’re going to see. It’s a different overall style, but like running the ball and keeping it to third and very manageable can be hard things to go against. You’re trying to protect the big pass game and they’re in there pounding on you and the secondary, you’re playing that chess match. It can be hard. I think at the end of the day, it’s always about points. As long as our defense is keeping the points down, we got to do some things on offense to score points.
(On Jake Browning’s accuracy vs. ASU) I think he always throws balls like that if you give the guy a chance. Everybody wants to throw stones at the quarterback, but you give that guy a chance to set his feet, you give him time to breathe a little bit, he’s an accurate thrower and he knows what to do. I started this talk saying our offensive line really did a nice job of getting the run game going and then play-action off it. He can set his feet and I think that changes everything for the quarterback. He did a couple really nice things in the pocket, Jake did again, of just sliding and gliding, which he has in the past couple games as well. We’ve talked about just those tough plays where you’re trying to do too much. We can eliminate those, that’s a pretty good job.
(On UW classes starting Wednesday) It does change things. I think it’s good and bad. We’re morning guys and we’re going to start even earlier in the morning and that’s a tough thing for college kids. But I also think it’s good because I think these guys are ready for some variety in their life and why they’re actually here to be in class. It will take a minute to get into a rhythm of that but it is definitely time.
(Helpful that game is at home the first week of class?) I don’t think that totally changes things at home. The only thing that would affect us on Friday a little bit is if we’re at home, our guys will still go to class for the most part. If we’re on the road, they don’t get to class because we don’t take classes in the morning. Friday would be the day that would kind of affect us, not the rest of the week.
(On lobbying for earlier TV times with back-to-back road games?) “There’s no lobbying. We just play. “It is what it is.”
(Austin Joyner OK?) He got a concussion. He’s in the concussion protocol.
(On the crowd) I do really appreciate our awesome crowd. That was fun to be in on Saturday. I anticipate another one. I know they’re expecting a lot of people. This will be a good football game. This will be an exciting game, it really will be. We got a lot of respect for this team. They go into Wisconsin and knock those guys off. You can see why. They play good football, they really do. This will be a good college football game in terms of the environment and all those type of things. 5:30, that’s pretty good. Excited to play.