After their convincing 28 to 15 win Apple Cup win over the Washington State Cougars (10-2 overall,7-2 Pac-12), the No.10 ranked University of Washinton Huskies (9-3, 7-2 ) will now focus their attention to Fridays Nights ( 5p.m. PST) Pac-12 Championship showdown with the No.17 ranked Utah Utes (9-3, 6-3) at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara California
This will be the second time in three years the Huskies will take on the Utes with the winner of the game earning the right to represent the Pac-12 in the January 1st RoseBowl in Pasadena. Huskies head coach Chris Petersen met with the media on Sunday instead of Monday due to the Pac-12 Championship game being on Friday.
QUOTES FROM CHRIS PETERSEN PRESS CONFERENCE
(How satisfying was that final drive?)
“Yeah, awesome. Eight minutes-plus, we were trying to eat some clock and if we get a first down or two and the guys just kept making plays. I think a lot of times it starts with keeping those linemen covered and again, they are going to pack it in there, the running backs are going to have to do something. Salvon and Myles both were able to bounce some things and get some key, key first downs.”
(I know you practice four-minute offense drills. Do you ever practice 8-minute offense drills?)
“Not an eight-minute offense. That would probably be the same as your four—minute offense. I think you get into that situation and you’re running the ball so much there’s always a run or two you’re thinking man, I wish we had this. But we hadn’t really repped in practice enough. But we had enough there that the kids just executed. I think those elements were very surprising. Probably surprised both sides. We were planning for cold, we were planning for some rain but to get a field like snowy and covered like that, we weren’t thinking that until maybe the day of the game. We weren’t so sure how it would turn out.”
(You had two first-half turnovers, but were able to get the ball right back. How big was that?) “
Huge. Really huge. We always talk about when the teams are kind of even those turnovers are going to be humongous and right before half with that kickoff, to come up with that stop … because obviously they had scored and momentum was changing rapidly, so that was really, really big. The fourth-down stop when the snap was wide, all these little things really add up. Whoever can handle the conditions, it makes a big difference.
(On getting pressure with three guys)
“I think it’s a lot of effort. I really do. I thought that O-line for Washington State … obviously, gained whatever it was and you look at their stats, not giving up sacks. They’re really stout. Minshew can move around and buy time. That’s part of his game, a little bit of scrambling. So for our guys to get him off the spot and sack him a couple times, that was as important as anything. They rushed hard. That’s what it was.”
(On shutting down WSU’s running backs after their early success)
“We practice hard on that thing. Those guys, every game, they make guys miss. They made us miss a couple times. They’re really good. That’s kind of who they are, that’s the strength of their game. But we held them relatively well. It can’t be one guy. You got to run to the ball and everybody’s got to have their leverage. And that’s what you saw. They stepped out on us a time or two. But to only happen a time or two with how many balls were going underneath is pretty good.
(On preparing for another really physical game …)
“You better get your mind right. Our guys know it’s going to be like that. You watch them play last night — they don’t give you anything. Lot of man coverage. Pack the box and they are extremely active and aggressive. They get off blocks and they just have really good players across the board. Sometimes this time of year with injuries and those types of things you have new guys, but they’ve stayed healthy (on defense) so that’s out, and there’s a couple more guys — a linebacker we didn’t see the first time we played them. So they’re, to me, a better team on defense than we saw them the first time.”
(On UW LB Brandon Wellington getting increased snaps … )
“He’s an athletic guy and that’s what you like about him out there. He can really run. He’s a little bit in the Ben Burr-Kirven mold — they’re not the biggest guys, but they’re active and athletic and aggressive. He’s another guy like Joe Tryon; every game he’s been getting better and better and more comfortable. Missing time and all that takes a minute and he’s doing a great job.”
(On four close games vs. Utah the last four seasons …)
“I expect a similar situation. I think always when you start with defenses, they’re going to keep things close for both sides. It will be an interesting matchup. Our guys will have to play their best game of the season, which is kind of how you want it late. That’s what we’ve talked about (when) you go into a championship game. And I think it’s interesting for us because the Wazzu game was going to be a big game and they were playing so well and we had to play our best ball; then we go into this next game and have to play another step (up). Then depending on the bowl game, those matchups are usually pretty tough. It just comes back to us playing the best we can possibly play. The kids will know what they’re in for, having experienced them one time and watching tape they’re going to be like, ‘OK, we’d better be at our best.’”
(On similar setup as 2016, coming off Apple Cup in Pullman and then traveling to Pac-12 title game)
“It’s just a normal week for us. So today is a Monday and their recovery (off) day, and then tomorrow we’ll practice and away we go. We just shift the days and try to keep things as normal as we can for them. I don’t think it’s much different. … We’re in and out so fast when we go on the road that it’s just a normal prep week in terms of how we do it.