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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 17, 2014 at 3:22 PM

More from UW’s Chris Petersen on clock management, offensive line shuffle and Cyler Miles’ fumbles

Here’s the full transcript of Chris Petersen‘s Monday press conference:

(Opening) “I’ll just start by saying that’s a hard one, that’s a tough one. Really pleased with how hard our guys played. I felt like there was a different intensity and a different energy than probably any of the games we’ve played. It showed up. For as many errors as we made in terms of penalties and some details and some turnovers, we still had a really good shot to win, and they really showed up with tremendous passion. Just really hopeful that that can continue and I think if it can continue during the week we’ll make strides.

“I think a lot of ways we got better; played a really good team and sometimes it seemed like we did so many good things but there were so many things…everything else went against us and lined up for Arizona. I was really pleased with how those guys played. I know if we can continue with that intensity that we can get some things done.”

(Any regrets about not taking a knee? Or not taking a timeout after third down before the kick?) “The one thing I really want you guys to know is, all of it was very calculated. So you might not agree with the strategy, but we’ve got our charts, all on our game plans and the guys are looking at it up stairs. So after we converted those two first downs, we’ve got 4 minute and some seconds and we convert two first downs; and so looking at the chart, we felt like we still had a handful of seconds left before we could really kneel it and kill it. And what I didn’t want to do it take three knees and then have to punt. We didn’t know exactly how many seconds would be left. I didn’t want to do that thing where you’re running around back there and then all off a sudden there’s one second left and they’re in field-goal range. So the strategy was, hey, we’re going to run one more play and then we can relook at this time clock to see if we can get it all the way down to take a knee. And then the ball comes out. So we had thought about that very closely.

“Probably the thing I’m most discouraged about that whole thing is he got a free kick. That was not the intent. Live and learn on that. We practice that every week ourselves, that if you ice you’re going to take a free kick. So I tried to call a timeout a little bit earlier — twice — and for whatever reason it wasn’t called. And that’s on me to make sure I don’t even mess around with that. … So that one was probably as frustrating as anything.

Going back and looking at it, we’ve looked at our charts again, where we were, I would do exactly the same thing. I would run another play — to probably our most sure-handed guy. That didn’t even my enter mind that that (fumble) was going to happen. It really didn’t.”

(On giving yourself a shot by calling time out 30 seconds before the kick) “Yeah, I didn’t think he was going to make it. And my hat’s off to him. He did a nice job kicking that game. He had a little bit of struggles. That’s why we went after it so hard when they faked it on us. So hat’s off to coach Rod and those guys. They executed it good, really did. I didn’t think he was going to make it, I really didn’t. Had a little time to play with, he came through it. He answered. My hat’s off to him, pressure kicks.”

(What do you lose by calling timeout with 33 seconds left either way?) “I guess we could’ve done that or had a chance to return something. The main thing is going back to the first part of killing the clock, that whole situation. I would have done that the same. I would have run one more play to see where we were, and if we can run that thing all the way out.”

(How are those charts figured out? Is it week to week? Or before the season?) “It’s done before. We don’t change them. Is it, if you get a first down, if the clock has stopped – so there’s two different things you’re looking at. You’re simulating a play taking a knee might take three seconds off if you’re just taking a knee; if you’re running a play it may be a little more. It’s not an exact, exact science, because depending on when that ref gets the ball, when you run a play, taking a knee. And that’s why we felt there was going to be a handful of seconds left. We needed to run one play, and I’m thinking, hey we might even get a first down here. But we would be able to regroup and get a much closer count than if we could kill it out.”

(On trying to run the clock out during that 4-minute drill at the end) “We were milking it fairly good on that last one. I think Cyler snapped it with about 7 seconds, which was too early. We had some motion on that play, so he had a lot to look at there. But even if he would have gone right down to the end, we still would have had a couple seconds on that play right there. We wanted to run one play and go from there.”

(So you don’t second guess yourself on that at all?) “On that whole situation? “I’ve looked at it about 105 times second-guessing it, and if I had to do it again right today I’d do the same thing.”

(Is there an exact number of seconds on the chart you needed to take a knee?) “Like I said, we got there. We knew there was going to be a handful of seconds. … Looking back on it, it could have been anywhere from 4, 5, 8 seconds, depending on when we got it, how much time was run off there. That’s when we thought, we’re not sure we can run it out. What we didn’t want to do was take a knee, take a knee, and then have to punt. That I didn’t want to do.”

(Why not punt?) “Because I think they are going to send everybody and their brother after our punter, and even if they don’t get to it we’re going to have to stay in so long for punt protection that he’s going to get a good chance to get that thing started, and where it could go… You know…this is what I do know; the strategy we went with…we coughed it up. If we went the other way and punt to ‘em and they block it or return it, we’re getting the same questions the other way. When your strategy doesn’t work, you get a lot of questions, but we felt at that time that was the best thing to do.”

(On Deontae Cooper) “He’s doing fine. I always say this – there’s always critical plays right down the stretch, whether it’s a field-goal kicker or something like that, and everybody wants to look at that play. … There are so many plays on tape that we had a chance to change the game, and really some subtle ones in terms of field position, some penalty type things. Had a couple shots at a couple more interceptions, those type of things. Some sacks, turnovers in the red zone. We can go on and on. There’s just so many more. We always focus on that one at the end that’s so hard.”

(What would you have changed about the game?) “Well, the penalties. I think there were some penalties that we need to clean up without question. There were some real aggressive penalties. So it’s always playing right to the edge and having great football intelligence and pulling back. And so we’ve got to get that cleaned up. But those things are hard to practice because the speed of the game changes, how fast you’re really going in the game, so we need to practice faster so we can have a chance to make some of those type of decisions. And obviously the turnover thing. You turn it over three times to a really good team, I just don’t think you’re going to win unless you have a lot of luck. And obviously the luck we’ve been having lately is kind of on the other side of the coin. So I think those are the things.”

(Where does this loss rank among your worst?) “It’s painful. It’s painful. They’re all painful. I feel really bad, but I feel like this is how it should be when kids play this hard. When they play that hard and you have chances to win and you really in some ways deserve to win, and you don’t, it really hurts. But that’s what sport’s all about. I really think that. When it’s done right, that’s why it’s like, ‘ugh.’ And you analyze every little call, the ones we’re talking about, and going back over the different plays. The kids are the same way – how could I have done this a little bit different? Sports are hard sometimes.”

(More on what he would have done differently) “Well like I said, the calling the timeout earlier so the ref does not wait at all. I didn’t like that at all. That one really bothered me. From a coaching standpoint, we moved the ball well. We got Kasen (Williams) involved. All those things were better. I think we played really good defense. Really physical defense. The kids were running to the ball like we hadn’t seem them run in a while. So there really were a lot of good things. If we can continue with that passion, that effort, that energy, and not be discouraged and play these last couple of games with that type of intensity, I think our chances get better.”

(On the offense) “It felt different, and it felt better. Our third downs were better, so we were staying on the field a little longer. We got to run more plays than we’ve run in a while. So it did feel a lot better. That’s what it’s supposed to feel like on offense. I still think we left too many points on the field in terms of the red zone, a couple turnovers. (Cameron Van Winkle’s) been money in that field-goal department, once bounces off, all those things. Ball on the ground on an extra point that could have – all these little things, that’s just like wow. There’s so many things – we played so well in so many ways and then so many things that just really aren’t good football, and that’s what’s kind of weird about the whole game, and that’s what we’ve got to get better at.”

(On the center snaps being an issue) “That’s right. And so we’re working hard on that. We may have to move some guys around a little bit there, get a couple guys that can snap the ball. Colin, he’s done a heck of a job in there blocking and doing some really good things, but he can play guard. We’ve got other guys who can play center. We’ll maybe shuffle some things around there, because that’s hard to deal with as well when the snaps aren’t right on the money.”

(What would you say to fans who aren’t satisfied with your clock-management explanation?) “I think it’s hard. It really is. But all I can do is be honest and look at that again, in the same situation, I don’t think we could have killed the ball. We run one play and then maybe we could have taken a knee and go from there, and re-group. No one’s more disappointed – I can tell you this – no one’s more disappointed than myself and these coaches and the players in the locker room, there’s no question about it.”

(Did the mechanics of that decision work properly?) “I think so. Can we take a knee? No, we need to run another play. It looks like we need another play.”

(So nothing broke down there?) “No. Not at all. The whole thing is – we were huddling up and trying to take time off the clock in that whole series there. Converted a couple third-downs. Got that done. So we were very well aware of it. Converted the last one and it was like, we need one more play.”

(What don’t you like about the quarterback just taking a few extra steps backward, or running wide and falling down?) “I don’t have a problem with that, if we can get that all done. Like I said, we go back and kind of go off the charts, and if the chart says we’re not really in that knee position yet, we go from there. and so I know that everybody will be on point and looking at those things as much as we possibly can when this comes down the road again, because it will. Practice milking the clock down even further. We were kind of in our four-minute mode, and make sure we take every possible second that we can without putting ourselves in jeopardy of a penalty.”

(On the fake field goal) “Most of the time, we have everybody accounted for, all of the eligible guys, all the wings and tight ends. And every now and again we’ll pull a trigger and we’ll rush the guys. We won’t cut them all loose, for sure, but there may be one guy you cut loose to go for basically an all-out block. Budda was on the one guy, the one wing. They were using two wings and Budda was on the one guy, because it was a run-pass option, for sure. But our other wing came hard off the edge trying to turn the corner, and then Travis Feeney and John Timu, they were chasing hard. One wing who was in the flat got a piece of Travis, who might have got him, and John was giving everything he could to keep him out. I think that was a good call on their part. That’s part of the game.”

(They caught you trying to block the field goal?) “We’re a pretty aggressive block team when it comes to those types of things. But we’re not always trying to do that. We pick and choose our spots. And we try to push hard from up the gut, more so than the edges. Sometimes we will come hard from the edges. And it was a good call. It was a longer field goal. They had been struggling a little bit and we were trying to make sure, hey, keep these points off the board.”

(Will you practice late-game situations more this week?) “Yeah, we’ll pay attention to that and have our play-clock on and make sure we’re milking it down as far as we can. There’s no question.”

(The snaps are one thing, but Cyler has just flat dropped the ball a few times this season. Is there something with his grip or his hands?) “I don’t know about that. He has. The ball’s come out when he’s tried to throw it and all that, and it slips out. Those are hard. I think the combination between some of the snaps and some of that make it pretty tough. You’re going to have those every now and again. Every team does. But we’ve got to get better. We’ve got to get better at snapping the ball accurately so he can kind of grip it quickly and go from there.”

(on offensive improvement) “I think this week was better in terms of what we’d like it to be. We’d like to stay on the field longer. We’d like to distribute the ball around. Convert the third downs. Run more plays. Stay out of as many three-and-outs as we can. I think those things are what we’re trying to get done.”

(on message to the team this morning) “It wasn’t terribly different than what it was even after the game. I think the one thing that I felt, and I hope that they felt, was like the intensity that came to that game, the effort — that’s how it has to be. That’s it. And if we can replicate that every game and if we can replicate a lot of that intensity during the week, there’s no question that we’re going to improve and get better. And then we just talked about the areas we do need to clean up, some of the areas we already spoke about. And that’s basically what it was. We’ve got two weeks. And we’re really into a one-week season, as always. Oregon State is doing a heck of a job right now. It’s the same old thing — this league is unbelievable. Every week, it’s like the NFL in terms of parity. It’s just very hard to predict who’s going to do what. Every game is close and guys knock each other off. So we need that type of intensity and that passion this week as well.”

(Guys felt this was the most complete game of the season. Why do you think it took 11 games to get to that point?) “I don’t know. I really don’t know. That’s a great question. It’s something that we’ve really been talking about and trying to … as a coach, you don’t think you can just talk about things. You’ve got to talk about them and then go do them. You’ve got to work on them. You’ve got to practice it. But bringing emotional energy and passion and those types of things, sometimes it’s hard to replicate and practice those types of things, but I do think we’ve been making strides and it’s been showing up this weekend.”

(on Dwayne Washington’s big day) “I think our running backs coach, Keith Bhonapha, does a good job. Every position coach manages their guys and pays attention to their rep count, what the reps look like. Does a guy need to come out for a blow? So I think he was OK. He’s practiced pretty well the last couple week, although he hasn’t got a bunch of reps in the game. Finally kind of got him loose and that was good to see.”

(Did you guys open up the playbook a little more?) “No. I think we just executed better. I think we did a good job of running the ball against a pretty good run defense. As soon as you can run the ball, things in the pass game start to open up, and you’re in more manageable situations in terms of converting third downs. That helps your third-down percentage. We try to play to the strengths of our quarterback. We’re trying to do what he can do well.”


(Going back to the final minute, what’s the negative of calling a timeout with 30 seconds left?) “And their probably is no negative. We could’ve used a timeout there, let him kick it and try throw the ball back and forth and that type of stuff (after) they squib it.”


(Last home game for your seniors) “I think the seniors have done a really good job. Danny Shelton is playing unbelievable football. That guy is playing really, really good. Hau’oli Kikaha, his stats speak for himself, but he’s awesome to be around every day. And we’ve got those senior linemen. I think those guys have done a good job (in the coaching transition) because it’s hard. Newness is hard. And those guys have been a pleasure to be around and there’s nothing more that we’d like than to send those guys out with a win in their last game at Husky Stadium, for sure.”


(How is John Timu after his hip pointer Saturday?) “He was out there running around today. So I think the next couple of days will tell whether he can go. It looks like he can right now, but we’re not in pads today. He didn’t go full speed, but he looks better than I thought he was going to be.”


(More on not calling timeout with 30 seconds left) “Yeah, I think that’s fair.”


(on Sidney Jones and Budda Baker) “I think the young freshmen are growing up rapidly. I really do. It’s nice to see guys improve. That’s why we do this. I think Sidney’s done a really nice job. Finally got a couple picks, which was good. Budda’s coverage is much tighter and he’s not the biggest guy, but boy he came downhill and caused that fumble. He’s doing a great job. I think all those freshmen that were playing (early) are getting better. Down the road, that’s going to pay tremendous dividends.”



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