Washington coach Chris Petersen met with the media after practice Thursday morning to discuss his dismissal of star cornerback Marcus Peters from the program. Here’s all of what Petersen had to say:
(on Marcus Peters’ dismissal) “It’s unfortunate, but we’ve got certain standards and operating procedures. We’re trying to do something special here. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. Like I said, we wish him the best. It’s always a hard thing — worst part of the job, without question. And with all that being said, that’s really it. That’s it in a nutshell. I know everybody wants the details and other things — we don’t go there; we can’t go there. But like I said, we wish him the best, and it’s hard and painful.”
(Did you feel like you gave him opportunities to get back on track?) “It’s never one thing. We’re not going to dismiss a guy because it’s one thing. That’s not what we’re in this business (to be) about. But when you feel like it just can’t work, you gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
(Teachable moment for other guys in the program?) “You hope so. We’re just trying to do things the best we can and treat each other correctly and be the best team we can be. I hope everybody feels that and I hope we’re better as we move forward.”
(What mechanisms are in place for a guy no longer with the program?) “So we want him to get his education, without question. We want to help him move on in a positive (way) from here, so we’ll do what we can to help that happen.”
(Is that typical, keep a guy on scholarship when he’s been dismissed?) “Yeah, certainly through this year. And if we can help a guy graduate, there’s no question. That’s first and foremost why most guys should be coming to this place. So for a guy to get his degree, there’s no doubt we’re going to try to do whatever we can do to make that happen, if they want that.”
(What was Peters’ reaction) “Don’t get into the details or all that. I don’t think anybody on either side was happy with the whole situation.”
(on depth in secondary) “All year we’ve had young guys and they’ve been getting better and progressing and really staying focused and working hard. You’re not necessarily preparing for something like this but you always need depth as the year goes on. It’s usually injury related and all those things and the kids have been out there working and have really progressed and we’re excited to see them play.
(on John Ross III playing in the secondary this week) “John Ross has been working some defense this week and a little bit like Shaq, we figure out where we think he can best help the team and we’ll keep analyzing each game and each week. It’s really about, some of these guys are so talented where can they help the team best but where can we help them best. It’s a combination of those two things and John is one of those guys that has unique skills.
(Signs of what Justin Wilcox said about John Ross III as team’s best corner) “We know he’s talented. You can see it on tape from last year and even in the spring time I think coach put him over there to cover some guys one-on-one and you can see he’s got some tools he’s been blessed with an just anxious to see the progress.
(on Naijiel Hale) “I think Naijiel has done a nice job all along every time we’ve put him in the game he’s competed very well at a very high level. Proud of him that we’re this deep into the season, he’s a true freshman and go ‘there’s guys in front of me, there’s guys ahead of me’ and you haven’t felt that one time from him.”
(Will Hale start?) “Naijiel will start there.”
(Explain it to team?) “I always explain it to the team. I always talk to our team all along. I try to talk to them as much as I can. We’re all in this together and hopefully they understand but we always talk to them.”
(Week of practice?) “There’s always so many distractions and you’re just trying to stay focused on the game. That’s part of the game, part of life. We really practiced well this week. We’ve got a heck of an opponent, so hopefully that will translate. But the kids will prepare hard and they’ve prepared well.”
(More on practice) “Like I said, I think practice was good this week. Sometimes practice isn’t like the game and sometimes the game’s not like practice. That’s always a hard thing to figure out. But all you can do is start with practice, try to take care of your responsibilities, make sure your mind is right and ready to go compete hard, and I think they are.”
(Would you give the NFL scouts a positive recommendation?) “Absolutely. Marcus’s got a lot of skill. I really do hope that he has a really good NFL career, there’s no doubt about that. And I think he can and we wish him a lot of luck going in that direction.”
(Was the decision more for the team or for him?) “It’s always about the team. Hopefully in the long run we all benefit somehow, some way. These things are never easy and it’s never…you think at the time how does this benefit anybody? But for me there’s just a lot of guys involved when you’re in charge of the team and there’s a hundred guys and all those things. What is best for us to do what we want to do? Like I said, we’re all trying to do something special and it takes everybody in and everybody rolling the same direction. That’s hard to get done. Hopefully we can move forward.”
(on Shaq and what goes into the decision as to where to play him?) “Every week’s the same. We’re just trying to figure out where to best. It comes back to the team, all the time — with that individual in mind. Especially with Shaq being such a special guy we’re not trying to hurt him in any stretch of a way, and I don’t think we do. It’s hard. We balance things out, we talk about what we’re trying to get done, and keep Shaq in the loop and see where he’s at. He’s been awesome about it, so I’m excited to see him play a hard-fought game this weekend.”
(How has he held up?) “That’s a tough position to play but — knock on wood — he’s been really good. He’s such a physical guy and built for this game in a lot of ways. Hopefully — keep our fingers crossed.”
(How did Coleman and Washington come out of this week?) “Last week both of those guys could play. They could have but we got Coop and Shaq going and both of those guys. Again, we don’t tackle our running backs in practice. But they are playing as fast as they’ve played in a long time.”
(How is the offensive line doing?) “They are doing well. At this point in the season you’re not going to see these humungous jumps – it’s little things, attention to detail. I think they’ve had a good week.”