Washington football head coach Chris Petersen held his weekly Monday morning press conference on 10/29. Here are some things we learned from it.
Washington football saw it’s season take an unfortunate turn for the worse with a 12-10 loss at California on Saturday. On Monday, coach Chris Petersen spoke about the disappointment and the core reasons behind it. Here are some things we learned:
The offense went from strength to major weakness in a hurry
Coach started his press conference talking about how hard it is to lose when you don’t give up a touchdown on defense. It rarely happens and this past week was the worst time to have it occur. The offense had been up and down all year, but you always got the feeling that the skill players and the senior quarterback would always be a factor in UW’s success. Well, on Saturday, the offense officially became a problem.
Senior quarterback Jake Browning was benched late in the game and the first pass by backup Jake Haener was intercepted for a pick-six. It was the only touchdown for Cal and a backbreaker from which the Huskies never recovered. The benching was still somewhat surprising, but obviously a message from Petersen that he will definitely move on from Browning possibly earlier than expected.
The coach said that there is nobody he cares for more or has more respect for than Browning and that he was upset by the move. When asked if Browning is a better quarterback now than he was last season, Petersen’s answer was interesting.
He chose his words carefully and said he didn’t know. He said that Browning does some things better, but wouldn’t say that he was better overall. We will see how the senior signal caller responds in the final weeks of his college career.
The defense can’t carry the whole team each week
The defensive unit has been solid all year and has tried to make up for a lack of offensive consistency. But you could sense from Petersen’s tone that he has become frustrated the Huskies wasted a great effort from the defense. He also mentioned that the one thing he would like to see from the defense is some turnovers.
Against BYU earlier this season, the Huskies were able to get key turnovers and won easily. This would certainly help the offense with more possessions and better field position. Fatigue late in the game has also made it difficult to get stops when it has been absolutely necessary.
Right now, Petersen is trying to figure out how to get both units working effectively. There is only so much the defense can do, but maybe some more playmaking will help.
It’s becoming harder and harder to stay positive
Throughout the twenty-minute press conference, Petersen was finding it harder and harder to avoid being critical of his team. There were a couple of moments when his answers were a little more terse than usual. You can see the strain on his face and in hear it in his voice. The team has faced some real adversity and the coach is struggling to find answers.
To the coach’s credit, he still hasn’t been overly critical of players. He also hasn’t fully given in to excuses such as injuries. Petersen has consistently said that they will work on things to try to get better. At this point, however, the Huskies have fallen all the way out of the Top 25 and another loss or two will severely damage their bowl selection.
Now there is less focus on conference titles and more focus on just winning the next game. Stanford comes to town Saturday. Another tough test for the reeling UW Huskies.