Petersen quips on Stanford offense: "We explained what a fullback is to our defense today and they were very intrigued.”

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During his regular Monday press conference, Washington coach Chris Petersen reviewed the Huskies’ victory over Oregon and looked ahead to Friday night’s game at Stanford:

(On short week and what the challenge that presents?) “The challenge is the quick turnaround. As of now we’re on a normal schedule coaching-wise, game-planning and those type of things. Obviously we’ve got to be smart with the guys in terms of not wearing those guys out. We practiced a long time so far this year. It’s also a unique offense we’re going to face. How about that? It’s a unique offense but what everybody ran five years ago, whatever it is, but it’s different, so you’ve got to practice and you’ve got to practice hard. That’s one of the big challenges this week.”

(on Stanford’s Bryce Love) “He’s just one of those guys that’s really fast, strong, keeps his legs going at all times. He’s hard to tackle. He bounces off, runs through hard tackles, really powerful. Obviously he’s got really good vision. The way they put all those big offensive linemen and you’re not sure where the crease is going to be and he always finds it.”

(on Dante Pettis’ record-breaking punt return) “Kind of the same thing every time…every time he seems to do that with a little bit of space. Make a guy miss right away to get started. There were about three guys he kind of had to do something with himself, but there was enough space for him to do that. He’s got such a unique knack for returning. If you give the guy space he’s got that vision that we just talked about, he’s got those long legs. He’s like a hurdler out there. Guys are going to have a really hard time tackling him unless there’s guys there.”

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(Did he keep the ball?) “I don’t know if he kept that ball. Probably not. We’ll get him one for sure at the end of the year, make sure it’s all pretty.”

(on Lavon Coleman’s screen pass touchdown vs. Oregon) “I didn’t see it until I saw it on tape. I figured he had done that because I saw the guy tackle him and I looked over, I was immediately looking over to see if he had got a first down and then I heard the crowd erupt and figured he did one of those loopty-loops where he sits on a guy and then runs. Lavon is a hard-charging guy. That’s kind of his style.”

(What’s the process you guys go through when talking with officials after the game? Jake Browning talked about a hit to his head on the first pass to Aaron Fuller) “We don’t talk to them. What’s the point? They watch the tape and we just move on.”

(Even if it’s a possible targeting penalty?) “That’s on the league office to figure all that stuff out. I don’t know.”

(What was your assessment of the tight ends and how well did they fill in for Hunter Bryant?) “The guys that filled in are not new guys. Hunter’s the new guy. Those are old guys. They played well. We like our tight ends, those guys do a good job. They are tough guys. We’ve kind of mixed Hunter into the mix with those guys and he’s kind of a unique player. We do different things with him. It’s next guy up and it doesn’t mean maybe some of those balls are going to go to a running back or a wide receiver, or they might go to the tight ends – they hope.”

(What did you make of your run defense?) “I thought it was good, because at the end of the day it’s about points. Guys can go up and down the field all day they want, but if they aren’t getting points, that’s what matters. Oregon does a good job of running the football. That’s what they do, they are very good at that. They’ve got good players to go along with it. Really after our guys settled down after that first drive, I thought they played really, really well. There’s no way a team like that isn’t going to get some yards. But to hold them to three points is pretty impressive by those guys.”

(You are officially No. 1 in the country on defense. What do you appreciate about what the defense not only this year but the last few years?) “I think our coaches do a great job, first and foremost. There’s enough variety there, enough subtlety there. Maybe from just watching from the stands you wouldn’t think there’s a lot, but there is a lot. Our guys usually know what they’re doing and can play really fast. Have done a good job recruiting over there. And those kids have good mojo. They play good. That’s one of the things that, if you’re going to have a good team, to me it’s always going to start out on defense. We’ve had good defenses for a long, long time. Everybody likes to talk about offense, complain about offense or brag about offense, but I think it always starts on defense.”

(How important is communication for great team defense? How can you teach that in practice?) “It’s team defense. Everybody has their job and when you have somebody not getting out of position, the next guys don’t have to overcompensate or try and do somebody else’s job. That’s when you get in trouble. They know where they are supposed to fit on run plays, on wide run plays, on screen passes – when they have to run and get there they know where they are supposed to be and they know where their help’s coming from. They practice that every single day and they do a good job of doing their job and that helps.”

(You saw a great defense in the Peach Bowl. How much of what you saw there was aspirational for what you want to do here?) “I don’t think of that at all. I just think that those are some of the best players — they obviously coach ‘em good but talent-wise was something we hadn’t seen…I hadn’t seen probably ever.”

(Did Jake Browning’s ball to Dante Pettis early in the game that was incomplete need to be thrown earlier?) “Yeah, a little bit. He probably put a little too much air under it and I think Dante (Pettis) has to go up and get that ball. The timing was just a fraction off and that’s how it goes sometimes. But yeah, we could have had another one.

(Do explosive plays come in bunches?) “Yeah, you’re talking about the pass game and we had a few explosive runs too. They kind of do. I think it has to do with some things with momentum and guys getting confidence. I don’t know why it is. I think either side gets more confident. If they’re not getting them, you start to play with more confidence, more swag on whatever side. If you get them, you keep taking chances and it does seem to build a little bit. I don’t know why that is.”

(on Stanford safety Justin Reid) “He’s a good player. That is what we see. He can cover. He’s a safety, so a lot of times you don’t say that about a safety, but he comes down and can play in the slot and he covers those guys. He has very good ball skills. I think he leads our conference in interceptions and a couple of those were not easy interceptions. He had to go get those. He’s a good football player.”

(Did you look at Justin Reid in recruiting?) “I don’t remember.”

(Are short weeks easier to prepare for later in the season?) “I don’t know. We haven’t really thought about it that way. Last year we had (a short week) early in the season. It’s really about getting this early part of that plan done. You want your week to be as normal as you possibly can, so we really make it that way for the players. We just move everything up. For the coaches, getting that first day in, losing a whole day of kind of planning, so you come in real early the next morning and that other game needs to be already kind of put to rest in your mind and away you go.”

(Does a late Saturday game make the turnaround even more difficult for a Friday game?) “Yeah, for sure. I think last year I think we came back really late. It ended up being the same thing. We all want to feel sorry for ourselves and can’t believe we’re having to do this. Then I look at the Seahawks and the Falcons and I’m fine. Those guys have it really tough. We tell our players that too.”

(Do you start to game plan Sunday night or Monday morning?) “No. That’s probably one thing that’s hard to do when you’re this late in the season is to go do some game plan early. When you’re early in the season, the summer time, you can kind of look at those first three games to get ideas and all that, but things change so much during the season. But we’re fine. Both sides will be fine. There’s enough time and both sides will put together good plans.”

(Does it help that even though Stanford’s offense is so unique that everybody kind of understands what they’re about?) “I would like to play something that we’ve seen a whole bunch of. That’s where you get those carry over reps. There’s a lot of stuff that we haven’t seen anything like that. We have to be able to get lined up quickly and get ready to play a fullback. We explained what a fullback is to our defense today and they were very intrigued.”

(On running the ball well the past couple of games) “I would like to think it’s more of a function of our offense. We believe strongly in running the ball. We don’t feel good when we can’t run the ball. I don’t think anyone — a handful of teams might feel fine without running the ball, but I know Stanford isn’t going to feel good if they don’t run the ball, I know Oregon’s not going to feel good if they don’t run the ball, we’re not going to feel good if we can’t run the ball. Our styles are much different, but most guys really want to run the ball and we’re no different than that, so if we can we’re going to. Sometimes you have to be stubborn and stay with it.”

(Do you want to get Azeem Victor more opportunities?) “Yes, we do. We for sure do and we’re working hard to try to see if we can get him some more reps out there and use his athleticism and his football skills.”

(How hard is it for a linebacker to transition to the outside?) “It’s amazing, everything is so much more complicated than you think. You can’t just line a guy up. We talk about this with some special teams things that we were moving some guys around. In special teams, there are a few minimal assignment things and a few technique things and it’s amazing how much that takes to get a guy when you’re moving them around with these things when they haven’t done it for a long time. Certainly on offense or defense at different positions there’s just so much more there. He’s been making some progress with that stuff. We do want to and our hope is to get him more reps out there for sure.”

(Has this been frustrating for Azeem Victor?) “Absolutely.”

(How’s he handling the situation?) “Good. He’s been good. I know he is frustrated. Respect that guy tremendously, how he’s gone about his business and he comes to practice and works hard and I hope we can get him out there more.”

(How is the tight end usage of Stanford going to be a challenge for the secondary?) “I think you’re right, the tight end (Dalton Shultz) is very good. He’s unique. He’s a special tight end. He’s so tall and he can run. He’s a really good pass receiver. It grabs my attention when tight ends can block really well and he does that. He does a very nice job in the run game, so this is a complete tight end. He’s a huge target. And the receivers are big guys too. They’re 6’2, 6’3 and they catch the ball really, really well. They can throw it and they will throw it. I know they want to throw it more then they threw it last weekend. They’re all about establishing the run game and then that comes off of it.”

(What’s the challenge for corners covering tall ends?) “It is what it is. If guys aren’t, that’s an advantage, that’s why you look at the NFL and those receivers, you get those guys that are 6-2, 6-3 and there’s not much you can do when they’re just bodying you out, even if you’re playing your techniques just right. It is what it is. Those guys have to be one step ahead and they have to really be explosive players and aggressive players when that ball is in the air.”

(With Aaron Fuller’s game, is it a situation where players have been building skill all year and are starting to emerge?) “Yeah, I hope so. Like I said after the game, I’ve kind of noticed him in practice. He’s doing a nice job of practicing hard and making plays out there. I think Ty Jones is the same way. You just kind of really want to see those guys get opportunities and then it shows up. There’s that momentum we talk about that whether the quarterback is looking his way a little bit more or coaches are designing things, it kind of snowballs. Hopefully not only Aaron (Fuller), but a couple of those other guys start to increase as well their role.”

(With all the injuries in the passing game, does that change the play-calling much?) “Not a huge amount. There’s always certain guys that did things really well, have a uniqueness to them, like Hunter did where we’d use him. But we’ve been practicing a lot. All those other receivers have a lot of reps under their belt and they’re getting more now, so it’s not like all of a sudden we’re pulling a guy out of a redshirt and saying, ‘OK, here we go.’ It’s kind of how the season goes and kind of how we planned for it, and hopefully they can capitalize.”

(Has this been one of the more challenging years in terms of injuries/moving guys around, or do you just get used to that sort of thing?) “I would think the latter. What else are you going to do? You plan going in. I sat here way back in August and said, ‘Yeah, things can look good with 22 players on both sides.’ That’s not even kind of your team. You need about 50 players on that (depth chart) and go, ‘Yeah, I feel good about these 50 players.’ That’s where we are.”

(Do you ever find yourself score watching on Saturdays — ‘oh, Penn State lost.’ Etc.) “As that your way of asking about rankings? (laughter.) … I don’t know how to say this to you again. I totally do that, score-watching. But nothing is, ‘Oh, good, so and so lost.’ I can’t say that to you honestly enough. Maybe our players do. I don’t know. But not even kind of. But I watch scores all the time thinking, ‘Wow, I thought that would be a good game.’ Or: ‘Oh, those guys upset them.’ I pay attention to all that. But (not), ‘Oh, that’s good for us.’ We’ve just got to play good. We’ve just got to go win the next game. I know our coaches feel like (that). You can just tell and feel those types of things. The players, I would think they would, but I don’t know.”

(on first recruiting Greg Gaines to Boise State) “He’s one of the guys I chuckle about in recruiting because I don’t think anyone talked about him very much. Again, he was one of those guys who committed to us before we came here, and we knew he was going to be a really good player. And then typical in recruiting, at the end everyone was trying to recruit him, but he stuck to his commitment and that’s just what he was going to do. So he didn’t come in with a tremendous amount of fanfare, because that’s not what he’s about. He’s done everything we thought he would do. He’s the type of player we thought he would be. We thought he’d be one of the better players in the Pac-12 and be a difference-maker. So he’s kind of done what we thought he would do.”

(Gaines getting married this summer — were there more players back in your playing days who were married?) “No, it’s kind of about the same. There might be one or two when they get older. And I like it. I’m good with it. It’s like, yeah, go hang out with your wife. You know they’re probably in better hands than if they don’t have a wife. With girlfriends, there’s all kinds of drama, so that’s a little bit shaky. (laughter.) Newlyweds — it’s all good for a couple years. So I’m good with that.”

(on new December signing period) “The guys that we have committed and the guys we’re on, most of those guys — there might be a unique reason or two for not sign early — most of those guys are ready to go. But, again, there’s a few things I think in my mind that I think will happen that I really don’t want to get into — it’s a little bit of Pandora’s box right now. We’ll see how that pans out.”

(on recruiting with short week …) “We’re done with our evaluation days anyway. You only get so many in the fall, so we can’t go out anymore. We’ve already used them. So, like I said, after today we’re kind of back on our schedule. We spent a lot of time still watching tape on recruiting. It doesn’t matter if it’s this year’s guys, next year’s guys or guys that are being born today, it seems like. We’re watching recruiting tape on all kinds of young guys. So normal week after today.”

(on state of kicking game compared to a couple weeks ago) “That’s a good question. I kind of like where it is. I don’t think we’ve settled in. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing where we’ve ‘arrived’ and it’s where it needs to be, but we don’t want any of our positions to be like that. So we’re still working really hard on it. I thought Tristan kicked really well today. I think he’s getting his confidence and all those types of things. Just keep working.”

(How much do false starts at home eat at you?) “False starts period drive me nuts, but at home they can be painful. There’s always usually a little bit of a reason. It’s not as simple as it seems. What we do with our snap count, we’re checking a lot of plays. Sometimes the rhythm gets off in terms of how it gets checked and (Browning) has to hold it. Anytime we get false starts, we’r trying to eliminate those self-inflicted wounds. It looks so simple, but really it is not quite as simple. He needed to change the snap count, because teams start to get into a rhythm. Well, when you change it you’re changing it on your own guys, so there’s more complexity there than sometimes you’d know.”

(On changes to O-line — Wattenberg and Kirkland as new left side) “I thought those two guys did a nice job. I don’t think anybody on our entire line played completely clean, but I thought those guys both had good games. We were pleased with how they stepped up. It was good to get Luke in there for a full game. He knew he was going to start, and I thought he did a really nice job. And of course The Fireman (Kirkland) always does a nice job, wherever we put him.”