Washington coach Chris Petersen reacts to the Huskies’ 30-22 loss at Stanford on Friday night:
(Opening) They ran the ball better than we did, didn’t turn the ball over. Way better on third downs. They were more explosive than us.
You got a chance to talk to different people about third down and what they felt. For you, why do you think it was the difference in third down with their offense and your defense tonight?
CHRIS PETERSEN: They were in third and short and third and manageable probably a little bit more than us. I got to put tape on to give you a good answer on that.
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How frustrating was that on the sideline where it just felt like one after another they were converting on third down and holding the ball for so long?
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, how the game unfolded, they just played their game better than we played our game. I mean they hold the ball, grind up time, try to limit your possessions, and they did exactly that. If you don’t tackle well, that’s a recipe for disaster. We didn’t tackle well and our coverage wasn’t like it normally is. They just played the ball better than we did.
Even with that you got the ball back with a chance to tie there at the end. Did you feel like that was going to happen?
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, I always feel like that. You’re never out of it. Then you get, I think we got a holding penalty and those types of things. You play like this, a team like this and you get those false starts, a holding penalty, I mean we had a bunch of those and sometimes you’re trying too hard. On defense we got a face mask, we got a stop, okay, and then they tack it on. But they just had us on our heels. Like I said, they played their game better than we played ours for sure.
The first couple of times you guys had the ball you went right down the field like a hot knife through butter. So what do you think changed either for you or for them?
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, I don’t know. Those are hard questions to answer. We really wanted to come out and start fast. We have not started fast.
Which you did.
CHRIS PETERSEN: And we have not started at all fast on the road on offense so we did that and then we went stagnant for two quarters again and didn’t do much.
But you hit those five scripted plays or whatever it was and you had them on their heels. You were running one play after another. They couldn’t even get in position.
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, we had a little tempo going, that helped us. I don’t have all the answers right now, so we got to go watch the tape. It started well and then we kind of went dry. We got no explosives. The third downs, the explosives and third downs are always good things that showed up. They did a nice job of converting third downs and we did not for sure.
The first down?
CHRIS PETERSEN: The first down too.
The first down you didn’t get (on fourth-and-1), how much impact did that have?
CHRIS PETERSEN: I think that was a big play. It’s never one play, especially that early in the game, but that was a huge play. Who knows what we do from there, maybe we still don’t score, I don’t know, but it’s frustrating when you got fourth and one and a half yards and you try to run a kind of bread and butter play and we don’t get it.
Both No. 20s for Stanford were really instrumental in this game especially on defense. Did that guy on defense surprise you tonight, because that’s the best game he’s ever had.
CHRIS PETERSEN: No, I thought he was a good player, we watched all the tape and I thought he was very good. Certainly everyone knows about Bryce. But I think that both those guys are very good players.
In a situation like this where of course everybody talks about the playoff and whatnot and there’s never been a two-loss team that makes it. What do you and your staff say to your guys about not letting this be a letdown and that there’s still something to play for?
CHRIS PETERSEN: Well we never talk about the playoffs. Ever. So that’s not even a discussion. We just play. We got two more games and we’re focused on the next one. So two good teams coming and we’ll see what happens after this next week. It’s just about one week and if we start looking about championships and all that, your focus isn’t right and if guys are doing that, that’s what happens, there’s too much good football to be left to be played. There’s too many good teams in this conference.
Your defense hasn’t been hit like that. How do you expect them to respond?
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, I expect them to respond. This is a different style of offense, very power run and one of the better players in the country running the ball and he showed up tonight, did a nice job. They threw the ball real effectively too. Not as tight coverage — and sometimes we had tight coverage and Costello had some nice balls, put them right on their numbers and made plays. It’s just a combination. They just played better than we did. We didn’t get anything done on special teams, they did. They tackled better than us. Their third down explosive thing was huge.
You had two targeting calls waved off. You had a face mask waved off. Was there just a weird vibe out there at times?
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, well all I can say is sometimes those facemasks and guys are trying so hard and those things happen. I don’t know about the targeting. I know everybody is real sensitive about that so you’re going to get flags and then they look at it and try to make the right call.
Jake Browning runs around a lot back there, but I mean he really cost himself big time, he got nailed for an 18-yard loss, almost had a safety.
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah. Yeah. It’s almost equivalent to a turnover.
Do you encourage him to do that or is that just his natural style or?
CHRIS PETERSEN: I don’t encourage him to take an 18-yard sack.
I don’t mean that. I mean, he’s a good scrambler, but he was just running backwards, he kept zigzagging backwards and backwards and he must have known at some point that he could have thrown the ball away.
CHRIS PETERSEN: You would think. Easy for you and I to sit there and say.
I’m just asking the question, coach.
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, and I’m telling you. I’m telling you the answer. He’ll say the same thing, he should have thrown it away. He’s made a lot of plays this year running around making plays. Every now and then you get caught. If he had to do it over again, you got to throw that ball away.