Petersen asked about the Don James statue unveiling, rebounding from Arizona State, Josh Rosen, Tristan Vizcaino and more.

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Washington coach Chris Petersen talked after practice Thursday morning, his final availability before Saturday’s game against UCLA at Husky Stadium (12:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2). Here’s what he had to say:

(On what you’ve seen from the offense in trying to correct slow starts?) “We’ve talked about that a ton, next question. (laughs) It’s such a mental game, that’s what it is. We practice good most of the time. It’s now about how we’ll show up, and it seems so simple. It’s really not, but just to show up and play the best that we’ve ever played. If we can do that, we’ll feel good about ourselves. Obviously we didn’t the week before, so that’s been the focus.”

(On the Don James statue going up Friday and a story about how Don James said he appreciated Petersen when he was at Boise State — have you heard that story before?) “I really hadn’t, but I think we all appreciate him. The other night I was saying this, on the radio show Elise Woodward had some audio of him talking. I really have not heard him talk. I know bits and pieces about what he did, I’ve listened to so many players that he coached and I’ve kind of pieced it together. I’m now intrigued to kind of go back and find stuff that he spoke about because I really think he was a guy who was ahead of his time. When you talk about all the coaches that have coached with him and the players and the things he was doing, now it’s kind of commonplace. I think if he was coaching now he’d be doing some other things to make himself ahead of others.”

(What stood out about him?) “I think just the attention to detail and how he organized his staff, his practices and how he didn’t let anything slide. He had his way, and I think that’s what all the really good ones do, they have their way. They know it’s going to work. They will not yield to anything or anyone about it until it’s kind of willed through. He obviously did that for a long period of time.”

(Do you hear a lot of people making Don James comparisons to you?) “When I see pictures of Coach James on the sideline, he doesn’t look very happy. And when I see a sideline picture (of himself), I’m happy a lot of times. When we score touchdowns or sack a quarterback I’m happy. It just doesn’t come out in my face. So I think we both weren’t happy. But other than that, I don’t know. That’s not a fair comparison for him. He’s won a national championship. He’s done things for a long, long period of time. But I’ve got a ‘W’ on my hat and don’t smile.”

(Why don’t you think you look happy?) “I’ve seen that. There’s a lot of things I’m not happy about, but I just think it’s that competitive — when you’re competing you’re focused and whatever is on your face is on your face. But I do enjoy a lot of it, but that’s just the competitive mask I have on.”

(on Josh Rosen and the challenge you face, especially losing both of your starting corners) “It wouldn’t matter if we had all our guys, it would be the best challenge we’ve seen in terms of throwing the ball. They do it well. I have a lot of respect for that offense, so not only the players they have, starting with the quarterback, but the scheme they use with him. It’s a pro style scheme, which is what he is. He can make the throws to the wide side of the field, he gets the ball out quick. I have such a great appreciation for the subtleties of the game and I think he’s really, really good in the pocket. He doesn’t get hit much, he doesn’t get sacked much. The line blocks for him well, but I always go back — most of that is on the quarterback. And he’s great at that.”

(on getting sustained drives and how that can help Saturday keep Josh Rosen off the field) “There’s some truth to that. The important thing is that we’ve got to score points. If we have the ball but we’re not getting points, that’s going to be a problem because UCLA scores points. At the end of the day we can talk about stats and yards and passing yards and all that but it all comes down to points. Can we slow ‘em down and keep ‘em out of the end zone a little bit and we’ve got to get back on track scoring our points.”

(How has Luke Wattenberg done in the left tackle rotation?) “I think he’s done a nice job. I think both those guys, Andrew Kirkland, both of those guys have gotten good reps before but now there just a little more meaningful. You turn up the intensity. You don’t have to say anything, they just know. But it’s been a good week and anxious to go play.”

(How involved has Wattenberg been at left tackle until recently?) “He got a lot of work. Our guys can’t take all the reps, so we’ve got ones, twos and threes sometimes. He was going over there a lot. He’s played there last year, he’s played before, so that’s not the issue of him not having familiarity or comfort level being over there.”

(After ASU, was there an element of the team needing to get things off their chest, and if so how long did it take to get through it?) “We had our talk and these are great kids who we really appreciate because they’re all ears. They want answers too. How did that happen? We were playing hard. That’s that thing we talked about…you can play hard but not get the results you want. We practiced for the week and we did our deal and had a chance to digest it and then spoke again. Words are words, and now we’ve got to put it into action. And they all know that. We’re kind of tired of talking. Arizona State, we said it: they’ve got some guys. They are doing a nice job, they are getting better at all those things, so it’s not like how did this happen? They went and proved it again the next weekend. Let’s not minimize that. We just feel like we have more to us and can do better.”

(How much of the bye week is dedicated to getting back to basics?) “I think there’s always that. I think the really good teams, you look at them and it’s simple. But then when you really study them, it’s not that — there’s so much detail. They do pare down things; they get good at what they want to get good at and it’s not all over the place.”

(on UCLA’s defense simplifying things in win over Oregon) “Yeah. I think they have. They do a nice job of game-planning. They’re not easy to dial up and we know what they’re going to line up in and where the 3-technique and 1-technique (will be) and all those things. When you go play the game, it does look like they’ve done some of that and their guys know how to play faster.”

(What do you say to fans that expect a big day on the ground because of UCLA’s struggling rushing defense) “I would say stats are for losers. Do we have to go through this again? We talked about Arizona State and all this and it’s like, ‘They have good coaches; they have good players.’ You saw it last week (from UCLA), 14 points. They shut a team out for three quarters. You see it right there. That’s how you prepare. So with all that being said, it all comes back to us: Are we ready to operate and execute?”

(on state of run game) “We’re trying to get better at everything, whether it’s the run game, protection, it doesn’t matter. And certainly when you come off a seven-point performance, you’re trying to get better. It wouldn’t be back if we’re scoring what we average — ‘well, we’ve got to get better at this.’ That (mentality) will never stop around here.”

(on ASU proving itself again in win over Utah — validating for you?) “Not really. I didn’t think of it like that. I just know that. You guys know that. There’s talented guys (in this league). And college football can be wacky … but you study the tape like we do you can see a lot more than what sometimes shows up. To me, it was, yeah, not surprising.”

(on Myles Gaskin’s growth over past three season) “He’s kind of one of those unique guys, it’s almost hard to say, ‘How has he grown?’ because he’s played at such a high level from the start. I think it’s all just the true subtleties of the game. Myles can do whatever we need him to do. He’s got tremendous hands. That’s maybe one thing I’ve seen (this season). I don’t know if he’s grown or if we just didn’t give him enough credit. The guy can catch like a wide receiver. Just his pass protection, that’s something nobody ever talks about. It’s like, ‘What? What does that have to do with a running back?’ It has a lot to do with it. And he does a good job on all of it. So to me Myles is a detail guy that has continued to nitpick himself into being the best player he can be.”

(He’s out for the year, but does Trey Adams play a quasi-coach role now to help the younger guys on the O-line?) “We’ll get him back. He’s going to have surgery real shortly, so he’ll be out of commission for a bit. But he’s got such a great spirit to him and he’s just a guy you like to have around. So all of our guys, when they get dinged they’ll always be there (for) the guys stepping in for them and loving them up. It’s awesome to see when our guys do that.”

(How anxious do you think Tristan Vizcaino is to get back out there and kick?) “I think he’s a competitor. I think any competitor wants back out there. Like I said, we wanted back out there two days after we played. I know this: He is a competitor. He works really, really hard, and he’s had a really good couple weeks.”

(How do you manage a kicker’s psyche?) “If I had that answer, I’d quit coaching this team and go on a speaking tour and have a lot less worries. It’s hard. You just go back to golf — I don’t know. You’ve just got to stick to your fundamentals and techniques. And when they focus on that, when he focuses on those things, he’ll be just fine. Because he has the leg talent. But it’s no different for him than any of our guys. You can’t worry about the moment. You just worry about the guy in front of you, the ball in front of you, and focus on how you’ve been coached.”

(For kickers, is it worth it for them to watch tape or is it a different animal at that position?) “It’s a combination of watching themselves. They don’t need to watch the opponent, that’s one thing. They just need to watch themselves. That makes it a little bit easier. And … I’m just tired of talking about kickers. Can we move on?”

(You’ve got a 12:30 kickoff on ABC. When you walk out of the tunnel, what are you hoping to see from the Husky Stadium crowd?) “Well, it will be a beautiful day walking out of that tunnel at that time and seeing those Husky fans there. And I hope every one of them is smiling as big as I am.”