Petersen on Huskies' No. 7 preseason ranking in coaches poll: "I think our guys are wise enough to know, they couldn’t care less about preseason polls. You want to talk about polls? Let’s talk at the end of the year. ... That doesn’t mean anything (now)."
Here’s everything Washington coach Chris Petersen had to say after the Huskies fourth practice of fall camp Thursday:
(Learn anything about this team four days in?) “Yeah, I mean they’re working hard, feel good about that. It’s a detailed game so we’re a long way from that but they’re working really hard. They care, they’re trying to get it right. We continue to pile things on with the system in everything about the program, but they’ve been great.”
(on UW in instillation mode) “We’ll be in heavy instillation mode for probably the next two weeks getting everything in. Making sure they’ve heard things that we might even not call a whole bunch, but at least we’ve touched on it so when we do dust it off for a game it’s not completely brand new.”
(on some players now having it be their fourth fall under Petersen) “It definitely helps. Those guys being with us for a while you can kind of feel that. I think when things start to happen is when the old guys are modeling the behaviors you’re trying to get done, and they’re trying to tell the young guys ‘no, this is how we do it’. Feel a little bit of that even more this year which is good.”
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(on the back and forth between offense and defense and if it’s healthy for a program) “Well, I think so. I think at the end of the day in camp your defense probably always has to have the edge. If the offense hits them on something they’re going to stop them, it’s not going to happen again. Or if it does you have problems. I think it’s fine. A little back and forth is good and it’s hard to tell. This is the first time we’ve kind of moved a ball. It’s not live. Sometimes the defense can be at a disadvantage on some of that stuff until you go.”
(on Elijah Molden’s interception and the high amount of turnovers forced early) “Yeah, we like these young DBs. We liked them when we recruited them and there’s a lot of talent there. Then it just comes to us getting them dialed in, getting them some experience, but they’re already showing up and capitalizing on some plays.”
(on Byron Murphy taking a leadership role potentially early) “We’re not so worried about leadership role with younger guys like that. We just want them to do their job before others.”
(on the punter competition with two different styles) “Yeah, the ball comes off differently but our style is the same. Awkward, hopefully is how we would describe it. Some times awkward on purpose, sometimes awkward not on purpose, but we like awkward.”
(on opinions so far of true freshmen) “Well, we’re still drawing our opinions. We’re still making our opinions on so many of these guys. Three days with these guys. They’ve been here for a lot of the summer, but we didn’t get to coach him, football-wise. They did a great job with our strength coaches. But we’re optimistic. It’s fun to be around them. They’re athletic. I think we’ve got a bunch of guys that are tough, that love football. We’ll just take this thing one day at a time. That’s all you can do in … fall camp here.”
(On different styles among the tight ends) “I think that’s usually how it is in the tight ends. You’re always kind of mixing and matching. We’d like to play multiple guys, so you need to have a good crew there, and you’re going to have some big guys that are almost linemen, and you’re going to have some faster guys that are almost receivers. We just mix and match and move them all around and that would be a great group to play with even full time, like if you had two tight ends on the field all the time that you could move around to different formations. We’ll keep working with those guys.”
(on being No. 7 in the preseason coaches poll) “I don’t know, because — I’m not really worried about that. We’ve banned any sort of media — social, they’re not allowed to watch TV, look at their phones (laughs). OK. They might see a few things. I think this — I think our guys are wise enough to know, they couldn’t care less about preseason polls. You want to talk about polls? Let’s talk at the end of the year. I’m all ears, they’re all ears. That doesn’t mean anything. There’s not a team in the country that cares about what our ranking is coming in.”
(on when he thought Chico McClatcher projected as a receiver) “He’s so interesting. He’s a full-blown receiver. He could be a full-blown tailback. He’s just that unique guy. He’s just very good with the ball in his hands. When he was in high school, he played tailback, and we saw him catch the ball and thought he could do that. We thought he’d be a hybrid. He runs well enough and he understands the game (so) that he could be a receiver. I still think of him as a little bit of a hybrid. He’s out there at receiver the whole time, but we need to do things that we can just figure out ways to get him the ball. Some of that is going to be we could just line him up in the backfield. I think that’s the beauty of him. we can do a lot of different – I like those guys that we can do a lot of different things. I like a personnel group that we can do a lot of different things. Players that you can line up at wide receiver or at tailback. Tight end that you can line up at fullback, wide receiver, tight end. I think that creates problems for guys.”
(on Salvon Ahmed) He is that type of athlete. It’s hard (enough) with a young guy like that … trying to get him locked into one thing. But we are giving him some (extra) things, just to see where he looks the best. We know he’ll be good with the ball in his hands.”
(on absence of freshman LB Ariel Ngata) “He’ll back here shortly. He’s just taking care of an academic issue that he had to make sure he finished up on, and then we’ll get him back here soon.”
(on Lavon Coleman at 235 pounds) “He looks the same to me. You know, everyone right now is playing themselves into football shape. I think they’re really into good running shape; it’s just a little different pushing on each other down after down and breaking tackles and pulling away, so that’s different than running. They’re in really, really good running-on-air shape. Now they’re working into football shape, which I think Lavon is doing as well. Movement-wise, he looks the same as last year.”
(on Dante Pettis and his growth to today) “I would just say more consistent, more confident. And maybe the reverse order. More confident, he just knows so he can play at a much more consistent level. I know he was very consistent last year catching the ball but I think he’s consistent with everything – just how he carries himself out there is at a real high level.
(Did you discourage track for him before?) “Dante played as a true freshman and we wanted to make sure that his game continued to — I think there’s a point where you water things down and aren’t real good at anything. We felt like he was at a place where he did great in spring ball and he’s mature enough and he’s ahead enough in the classroom that he could do all those things. When guys can do two sports like that – this isn’t high school. This is really, really hard to be able to compete at that level, yet also take care of everything else that comes with responsibilities on both sides. So that’s a bigger deal I think when people are able to do that. He’s one of the rare guys. We’ve had a handful of guys over the years do it but not many. Dante is one of those.”
(Does Jake Browning have more leniency with the offense this year?) “We do a lot with them mentally, those quarterbacks. I wouldn’t necessarily say — we’re trying to get ourselves into good plays all the time. We want him to take the proper reads and throw the ball to the guy that he’s supposed to throw to, so I wouldn’t really say it’s changed a whole lot.”
(Initial thoughts on freshman QB Jake Haener?) “Like him. He’s pretty poised for a young guy. That’s the one position where it’s like you can get overwhelmed in a hurry. We’re asking him to get us in and out of some plays as well. Heck, our snap count can be confusing at times for a quarterback to learn. And I think he’s done a really nice job mentally. You can see him throw. He can throw the ball. Pleased with him.”