Had a chance to catchup with Hall of Famer Warren Moon and talk about Washington’s newest coach Chris Petersen.
(On Petersen) “People look at Boise State and say they were finesse and they ran the gadget plays and all of those different things, but I tell you what, his teams will hit you. And they play good defense. They’re physical on defense and most of the guys that he puts in the NFL are defensive guys. I like that part of his style.
(Who are those NFL guys?) “Well you look at the guy that separated or broke Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone (Chicago’s Shea McClellin). He’s from Boise State. That’s the first guy that came to mind. They’ve had some good corners. They’ve had some good players on that side of the ball to go along with those receivers too like Titus Young and (Austinn) Pettis and guys like that.”
(So you like the idea of getting back to the old ways of doing thing?) “I really like this hire for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I think this takes us back to what has made Washington so successful which is being the tougher team, running the football and playing physical defense,” Moon said. “There were a lot of people that we could have brought in here and I’m sure most of them would have done a fine job. But considering where we’re at right now, Chris Petersen is the best person we could have gone out and hired.”
(It seems as though Petersen’s had his best success when he’s had a veteran quarterback.) “Right. And they have to have that because they don’t have the talent everywhere else. He’s great at developing guys and taking guys that nobody else really wanted so I like that about him. But because he’s at the University of Washington now, he’s got more to sell to young guys as far being in the Pac-12 and being at a university that has history to it, great facilities and all of that. I think he’ll be able to lure some of those top-flight guys with his background with all of that winning at Boise State. Now he’s got the school to back him up.”
(What were your thoughts when you first heard about the hire?) “I think we got the best guy available for the job. Especially for where we are and where he’s been coaching, which is pretty much the northwest and Idaho. He knows the climate here. He knows the recruiting environment. He can go into California and get guys. He’s done that at Boise State. He meets all of the criteria that you’re looking for. The only thing he doesn’t have is a University of Washington history and neither did Don James.”
(What type of national profile does he have?) “I think everybody knows Boise State because of a couple of games in the Fiesta Bowl when they won those games. That kind of put them on the map and the way they did it with the Statue of Liberty play and then the kid proposing to his girlfriend cheerleader on the sideline. Everybody knows Boise State and kind of put them on the map. Then you look at how they win every year. He’s the winningest coach in college football in the last five years. I was surprised when I saw that. What is he 92-12? That’s unbelievable.”
(Does the level of competition he faced weekly give you any pause?) “That’s just the nature of things. He was able to dominate at the level probably better than anybody. If you can coach, you can coach at any level. I think this guy can coach. The only stopping him from being a top-flight coach is the top-flight kids are not going to want to go to Boise, Idaho. They’d rather come to Seattle, Washington and win a Pac-12 title.”
(I know you can’t speak for him, but why do you think it’s taken him so long to make the move from Boise State?) “I think he was just looking for the right job that fits who he is and his personality and where he wants to live. He has two young sons in high school right now so it’s a good time for him to move where before it probably wasn’t. I think the timing is right because I think he had a chance to get this job when Sark was up for it and he turned it down that first time. But now five years later it’s the right time to do it.”
(What’s the feeling of Husky Nation about Petersen?) “I’ve only talked to Lincoln Kennedy because I’m going to do his radio show later today. But he’s ecstatic about it. He think he’s the right guy. I’ve heard Petersen’s name thrown around by other Huskies like Lawyer Milloy and people like that as a possibility. I think most of the guys are going to be happy with this hire. He’s as good as there is in the coaches that are out there and everybody has wanted him. You always want to get a coach that other people have coveted.”