Petersen on offense's red-zone miscues: "We have to have a better plan there, give our guys a better chance."
Here’s everything Chris Petersen had to say Monday after reviewing the Huskies’ 21-16 loss to Auburn:
(Opening) “Well, just want to start by thanking our fans. Went clear across the country. That was awesome. We could hear them loud and clear. It’s not an easy trip for anyone, much appreciated. Players could feel ’em, I could feel ’em. Excited to be home this week to get Husky Nation in this greatest setting in college football.
“Not much is different from watching the tape. There’s a lot of things. I’m impressed with our kids. Physical game, that was a physical game. And you don’t really realize it until you put that tape on and watch it. Kids played a lot of reps, certain guys took a lot of reps, a lot of pounding. And then it’s really frustrating on the same hand just because, like we said after the game, it was a lot of sloppiness you think you’re going to clean up. We run a play one time and it looks great and run it next series and looks completely different. I think there’s a lot of frustration on all of our parts on those type of things. Just the penalties and turnovers.
“Didn’t play our best ball when we needed it, when we needed to come through. Certainly on offense we did some really good things but then when we really needed to it just felt like we kind of didn’t step up like I think we’re capable of. We’ll live and learn and move forward.”
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(on the red zone issues … ) “I think it starts with us having a better plan. I say that — I’m involved with the red zone, so I’m talking about myself. We have to have a better plan there, give our guys a better chance. I think they are one of the better red zone teams. You could see that last year when you put the tape on and they seem to pick up where they left off in terms of how they play down there.”
(on the offensive line and struggling against Auburn’s defense … ) “And you’re going to do that when you play a front seven that’s one of the better ones in the country. So let’s be realistic about that, you’re not going to move down the field…but I do think our kids held up relatively well against those guys physically. A little bit of it was assignment stuff, and a little bit was technique stuff. The encouraging thing, there wasn’t a whole lot of getting manhandled physically. Going in I didn’t know how we would hold up because those guys are very, very stout up front. Disappointing on one hand but there is some encouragement there because the kids physically wasn’t necessarily the issue the whole time.”
(The helmet-to-hit on Jake Browning that wasn’t called — how do you handle that?) “Move on. What are we going to do? Turn it in now and hopefully they give us the penalty now? It is what it is. I don’t know how to fix that. They have guys upstairs looking at targeting too. It’s blatant as all get-out. It is what it is. But move on.”
(on the slow start …) “Performance anxiety curve. That’s what it is. The guys just finally settled down, run the same plays and started making plays. Speed of the game and nerves and all those things. They certainly settled in faster than we did. That’s all I can attribute it to. Got into a little bit of a rhythm and played better ball and it was a back-and-forth game. That’s what I kind of think it is.”
(Did the pro-Auburn crowd add to the anxiety?) “Noise was a factor for sure. Noise got us at the end, that was the whole thing. We don’t get off on the right snap count and it looks like three guys don’t know what they are doing, they don’t get off on the right snap count, or the center…it’s a combination of all that stuff.”
(on first game mistakes … ) “When you’re playing a high-level team like that, all those mistakes are going to be excruciatingly obvious. They are hard to overcome. You just look at the majority of matchups the first game of the year. You can overcome those things. You’re going to get another chance. You only get so many chances in certain situations against a team like that. So those obvious mistakes come back to get you, whether it’s in the red zone or third down. So they show up.”
(Any update on Trey Adams?) “You guys tell me. You guys got all the answers. I mean, I’m serious. I always try and respect your guys’ process, but you guys don’t respect our process. I haven’t met with Trey or his parents. We’re meeting later with the doctors and all that. We’ve got guys in this room reaching out to Trey when they hear he’s out, which everybody in here knows we don’t reach out to our kids. That whole thing is really frustrating to us.”
(on Jared Hilbers) “I thought he did a solid job. I think overall our o-line will play better, but I think Jared’s got the tools to be a very good football player.”
(Happy with the receivers?) “Yeah, I mean, they played like we thought they would play, we really did. Those kids have been working for a long time at making plays consistently against some pretty good DBs that we have. You practice good, you practice at a high level, you’re fairly consistent, you know that’s going to show up in the games. They really kind of played like I thought that they would. I think Quinten Pounds, he shows a knack for making some spectacular plays on deep balls. He’s done that for a while. My hat’s off to him. That kid’s just getting back into it, I mean real football. Some of these guys, he comes back from an ACL, and there’s other little nagging things that certain guys battle during fall camp, and he’s had some other stuff too, yet he showed up and made a spectacular play.”
(on receivers blocking) “I think they’ll do that too. They kind of understand that’s their commitment to this whole program is blocking. They’re willing to do that. We’ve got to clean up a few things. One of our guys gets us a penalty for being too aggressive and making a bad decision downfield. It’s all those things that will come with these guys settling in and playing smart football. We spend a lot of time coaching and looking at tape and talking about it in practice and smart football out there. That’s one of the areas we’ve got to clean up.”
(Notice anything with new rules?) “No. I think I saw one. I can’t remember which side it was on, like there was a cut maybe downfield that was a little too far downfield that they probably missed that probably should have been called, but other than that … I think you saw the fair-catch rule. They fair-caught one on the kickoff, but other than that, not really.”
(New injury for punter Joel Whiford?) “No. He’s been battling a little injury all along.”
(on Peyton Henry) “Yeah, that was a pretty big stage to go on for your first time, and I thought he did a nice job and he’ll continue to get better.”
(on taking pride in matching Auburn physically) “We call it as we see it. I think we’re far past that, patting each other on the back for playing hard and playing physical. It’s my job to do that because those kids lay it on the line. It’s pretty impressive when you watch it up close and see that. It’s frustrating because it took us a while to settle in, but once we did, we feel like we can make these plays, we just need to do our thing, and we didn’t. Credit to Auburn. Those guys are good, and they did their thing better than we did our thing. it’s really that simple. But it wasn’t like grasping at straws and we felt like ‘we’ve got to make a play.’ We’ve been in games like that where we felt like we had to do that, and have done that. This didn’t really feel like that. They made the plays at the critical times that we didn’t. we get into the red zone, that option play, looking back on it, that starts again — we check so many plays, we probably should have checked out of that. The guy surprises Jake. But we can take a four-yard loss there, kick a field goal and we’re still good. So it’s that type of stuff. Then we’re going on a good drive at the end of the game and we run the ball, I think it’s 2nd-and-10, and we take a four-yard — I mean, that’s our base run. We’ve already hit ‘em a couple times on 15-yard gains. It’s a four-yard loss because we don’t execute on the same exact look. So those type of things, and the consistency is really, really frustrating. We’re all in this together. I tell our players this all the time — this is very easy for a coach to go in there and point fingers, and (say) ‘you’ve got to do this better.’ That’s not how we do it. It’s like, how can we help this guy more? Then they get their role, and their job, and what they’ve got to do, and certainly that’s our job to point it out, but we’re all in this together.”
(How would you assess the receivers overall?) “I thought they played well. I think that’s what I thought. I thought they played well. I didn’t think anybody had this unbelievable career-changing game. I think those are hard to have against those type of teams, but I thought they played solid as a group. I think there’s a lot of little things we can still clean up, that they’ll play better, but those kids, I think everybody else had such lower expectations. We didn’t. we thought they’d go out and play like that, and they did. Can we get better? We can.”
(on the tipped pass to Andre Baccellia in the fourth quarter, what are the coaching points there?) “We would have liked that route to develop a little bit slower, to get him in that hole a little slower. He just felt space and took it a little bit quick. I will tell you this, I thought that might have been the play of the game on their side of the ball. That linebacker dove and got that. He made a spectacular play. now, we could have tightened a couple — those are small details that we’re talking about, and had we tightened up our timing, we might get a touchdown there.”
(on Baccellia’s offensive PI/pick play that negated TD) “He wasn’t necessarily trying to run into him like that, but he ended up — they passed it off different than he thought they would, so there was (contact). If we’re trying to pick a guy we’re going to pick him better than that and not be that blatant. I can see why they called it.”
(Is Tevis Bartlett back on the outside full-time now?) “He’s a swing guy for sure. Tevis does a great job. There’s not many guys we can move around like that. He played a lot of football and made a lot of tackles. I thought all our linebackers did a really good job, just being tough, physical guys. And he’s one of them.”
(on redshirt freshman Ariel Ngata) “I think he’s got — he’s another guy we’ve just got to keep him healthy. A young guy who’s got some talent. He can run.”
(on facemask penalty against Jordan Miller) “I didn’t even see that. … That facemask penalty (in general) — everybody knows, I don’t know, I’ve never liked that. There’s facemask (during a tackle) and then there’s other stuff, and supposedly they can’t officiate too much gray area. I don’t know.”
(on North Dakota schemes) “Scheme-wise, much different what we’re seeing this week (compared to Auburn). So that’s interesting for us. We’ve been working for a long time on different types of schemes and you see on these spread offenses. (North Dakota’s) not a spread offense. They are kind of a two-back offense and they’re good at it. Theyv’e got some really good tailbacks. They won the Big Sky and got to the (FCS) playoffs two years ago. Last year, I think they were predicted to win it again and they had all these injuries, which just changes everything. So they have a few of those guys back on defense, in their secondary. But they’re tailbacks are really good. They have two of them. One is a three-time All-American. So I think for us to judge things, looking at them — they played Utah last year and you can see some of their playmakers show up and do good things. But the style on the defense as well is much different than what we’ve seen for the last handful of games.”
(Sounds like Stanford?) “You know, I guess you say that if somebody uses a fullback at Stanford. They use a couple tight ends and they use a fullback and they do a good job with it.”
(on Jaxson Kirkland’s debut at right guard) “First time out on that stage, another young guy who held his own pretty good. I get excited about all those young guys. If they stick to the process, they’re going to grow and get better and get smarter. You’ve got two things: handle it physically on a different level than they’ve seen in a game intensity; and then you’ve got a lot of moving parts coming at you, a lot of things you haven’t prepared for, which you know you’re going to get in the first game or two. So there’s a lot of things these young guys haven’t seen that you’re sorting through, and that can slow you down a little bit. But I thought he did a nice job of handling all that the first game out.”
(on Browning’s interception — was he waiting for TE Jacob Kizer to come back to the ball?) “Yes. Yes. It’s a bang-bang type play. But the receiver needs to come back for the quarterback.”
(What did you make of Browning’s game overall?) “Thought he was solid. Thought he threw some very nice balls in there. It’s hard. This why that position’s so difficult. You can play 70 plays where it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s good.’ And then there’s a handful, and there usually are, where it’s like, ‘Gosh, if I could just have that one over again.’ But everybody has that. It’s just such a critical position and everyone sees it and everybody’s got the answers for him. It’s the nature of the position.”
(on touchdown drive before halftime …) “We were in a 2-minute drill. And we do that a lot. Our guys are actually pretty good at it. So that kind of helped us change the tempo a little bit, but it was really a time issue.”
(Browning ran that up-tempo really well in high school … ) “We do that.”
(Is that something you would do more of?) “Just depending on the situation. We do a lot of tempo.”
(What are the disadvantages of doing that more?) “Going three-and-out in about 30 seconds and putting your defense right back out there against a good offense that holds the ball.”
(How limited is your offense when working at that tempo?) “It’s limited, but not significantly. We’ve kind of developed — and there’s been enough kids around who’ve been with us long enough. We can do enough to where we feel like we’re not totally handcuffed.”
(Were you trying to drain the clock on the last drive?) “We weren’t trying to drain clock. We were trying to score points. When you’re behind against a defense like that we’re not thinking we’ve got to score but not too quickly. We’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. We were trying to slow down and just run good plays and I think our kids were a little too much into the frantic panic mode knowing we’ve got to get something done here. We had plenty of time, call the play we want, whether it’s a tempo play or not a tempo play it doesn’t matter, whatever gives us the best chance. Those are the moments that are so hard to replicate. You just can’t replicate them. We put our guys in those situations in practice all the time but it just doesn’t do it justice when you get in the game and you really know this is it. We do a lot of 2-minute, we do 4-minute. It’s all situational football at practice for us but then you’ve got to go through it, learn it, experience it.”
(on senior walk-on LB Jake Wambaugh getting some snaps vs. Auburn) “He’s been an awesome guy for us on our team. He’s smart. He knows exactly what he’s doing. One of those guys who heart and soul of this program, been with us for a long time and does whatever we ask him to do. It was good to see him get in there on that stage and get some significant reps.”
(Has anyone been added on scholarship?) “Not at this time.”
(When you stand there on the sidelines, do you see UW players equal to players from other big power schools) “I don’t think of it like that. I just study the tape more so. That’s where I think all your best judgment thinking comes in, not when you get on the field and you’re emotional and you’re like ‘Oh, this guy looks prettier than we thought,’ or whatnot. It’s how do they play and I think we’ve got guys that are as good a players as anybody around, but that’s the whole trick to this is putting this together and having a team that can compete with most. That’s all were trying to do is improve our guys, get this team to play as close to the potential they possibly can and enjoy this process that everybody tries to not let us enjoy because it’s life or death whether we get touchdowns or win or lose. It’s not. It’s not. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”
(on Jimmy Lake’s debut as DC) “He did a good job. I think when your defense can hold an offense like that to 16 points, you’d like to be able to get 17 and you’d like to think you could. That’s how it is when you’re playing a defense like that. It’s going to be tight, it’s going to be low scoring game. They did a nice job, especially in the red zone. They made them earn those things. Maybe a little too forgiving in the middle of the field part of things to let them get down there but we’ll look at that.
(Any communication issues with Lake’s first time?) “Nothing.
(on defensive front getting pressure) “I didn’t like early in the game. It just too us a while for guys to just settle down and go play ball. It had been a while and thought they did a better job than we did. We’re always trying to figure out how to start fast and certainly when you come out that first game; we went live early in the week before we played those guys, we went live so we’ve tried everything and still haven’t cracked the code.”
(on playing an FCS team — will it revert back?) “I don’t know. I’ve had this question a few times. I really just don’t know. I don’t know. I know sometimes they need those games to run their programs as well, so it’s not just as simple as dividing everyone out. Everybody wants the same level playing field _ I shouldn’t say everybody, I do, I think most do, but it’s not like the NFL. There’s not 32 teams on the same level playing field. There are different divisions and all kinds of different scheduling issues and all those type of things. I don’t really have the answer to that.”