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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 26, 2014 at 11:32 AM

UW’s Chris Petersen on final Apple Cup preparations, UW’s secondary, Thanksgiving plans and more

UW coach Chris Petersen met with the media after practice Wednesday for the final time before Saturday’s Apple Cup. Here’s what he had to say:

(Any special plans with the team for Thanksgiving?) “No. It’s a little different because there’s no school tomorrow, so we’ll have our practice and then have a little turkey upstairs and be thankful for all our blessings for sure.”

(Not worried about the turkey tryptophan?) “No. They’ll have enough time to recover, we play so late a couple days later so we’ll be all right.”

(What do you have to be thankful for?) “Being here, being with these guys, being a part of this game. I really mean that. We can put so much on this and I always say this; sometimes we make this thing life and death and we forget to slow down and appreciate. Coaches are as guilty as anyone, myself as guilty as anyone. So I think Thanksgiving comes at a good time to say hold on, let’s keep this in perspective and appreciate being a part of this thing.”

(So you have to resist the urge to go back up and game plan?) “Nah. The good thing is, by that time even if we have more ideas we can’t get them installed and all those things. So it’s all done by today for the most part.”

(Where has the secondary improved the most?) “I think techniques and understanding…there’s so much there. I don’t know if there’s a harder position to play maybe out there on an island. And the safeties are on an island inside. Not only learning schemes how we do them, but then there’s what other offenses do. And the offenses in the Pac-12 are so unique – none more so than this weekend. I do think they’ve gained a lot of knowledge. I think they are playing faster, and those things. They are going to be tested like they haven’t been tested all year for sure. Big challenge.”

(What’s unique about WSU’s scheme besides volume of pass attempts?) “I think they’re always kind of – the quarterback’s always going to the right area with the ball. They’re all about space and matchups and those type of things, and I think those guys understand it inside and out. That’s what they do, is throw the ball, and they do it really well.”

(Is this another game where it’s important for front four to get pressure by themselves?) “I don’t think you can do any one thing, but again – this is hard. Because you’ve got to pressure them, but they’re good at pass protecting, and the quarterback’s good at getting the ball out just like we said. They know that. The ball’s gonna come out quick. Doesn’t hold it, and those type of things. And so our guys are just going to have to play a really, really good, hard-fought game for us to be able to slow them down.”

(On Danny Shelton’s fake arrow-shooting) “I just stay away from Danny (laughs). On game day, I tap him on the helmet and say, ‘play hard.’”

(So no archery period during practice?) “I’m not sure what he’s doing. I’m not even asking him. I’m not even going there. I’m not sure what he’s trying to get to with those.”

(on the ‘mystique’ of the Apple Cup) “I think it’ll be that, I really do. I think it’ll be extremely hard-fought. I think guys will play there best. I think there’s so much emotion and passion it brings it out in the guys. I think there will be plays on both sides to be made and whoever can withstand the momentum swings will do the best.”

(on Cameron Van Winkle’s success this season) “He’s got a lot of leg talent and he’s very passionate about what he does. He seems to stay pretty in the moment and not let it get too big for him. I think that’s the biggest thing with kickers, specialists, those type of guys, the moment sometimes can get too big, but he hasn’t seem to have done that.”

(on some of red-zone struggles — does Van Winkle made that an easier call on fourth-and-medium to just kick it?) “You might have just hit on some of our red-zone problems, is we don’t go for it enough because we feel confident with Cam. He’s done a great job.”

(on WSU’s defense — resemble anyone else you’ve faced this season?) “Everyone has their own unique spin. For as much blitzing as they do, I think they’re unique in their own right. They’re different than what we’ve seen. We’ve seen these blitzes for the most part, but I don’t know we’ve seen the volume of them that they bring in the game. They just keep bringing them and that’s unique.”

(So they blitz more than Arizona State?) “I think that they’re right up there. They might have more volume of blitzes. Arizona State, they bring it a lot and they have a couple they’re going to bring for that game. Washington State’s unique; they game-plan you and then they run the whole gamut of blitzes.”



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