When the Washington-Stanford game began on Saturday night, two of the most important players on the roster stood side by side on the Huskies sideline: offensive left tackle Trey Adams and quarterback Jacob Eason.
Looks like they’ll be together next year, as well, only with defenders flying around them. Everyone knows Eason, the Georgia transfer, is biding his time to become eligible. On Monday, UW coach Chris Petersen confirmed that Adams intends to return for a fifth season after missing this one following back surgery.
“I think that’s the plan right now,” Petersen said. “But, you know, things are always fluid.”
The Seattle Times reported that Adams has been practicing in recent weeks. However, it’s unclear if the the Wenatchee product and one-time All-Pac-12 first-teamer will try to play this season. With the new eligibility rules in place, he could appear in the remaining two games, possible league title game and bowl, and not have to waste a season.
Also, the Huskies (7-3 overall, 5-2 Pac-12) have a bye week before facing Oregon (2-7, 1-5) on Nov. 17. The Pac-12 Network will televise the game at 1:30 or 2 p.m. that day.
Here’s what Petersen had to say about the Stanford victory and the upcoming week off:
(Petersen’s opening statement) “A lot better to be sitting here with a win than a loss, without question. First and foremost, so appreciative and grateful we got to play that game at home and the environment was really, really cool and there was no question that our fan base truly helps us win. You go back to when is the last time we’ve lost here, and it’s been a while. I really attribute a lot of that to the energy that Husky Nation brings to the table, and it’s awesome. Love that. Appreciate how hard our guys played. In some ways, kind of willed it to happen. There was some really good, clean football and some stuff that definitely needs to be cleaned up. Even some head-scratching stuff that you think we make some of these plays we didn’t make. I just like the passion that was in that stadium, how hard they played. You knew that Stanford was going to come back and make some sort of run. We hoped that maybe we could have scored another touchdown or two in the second half to take some pressure off everybody. But didn’t happen and had to grind it out, which we seem to do for most of our games. It’s kind of how we play.”
(Frustrated with that style of play?) “Extremely. On the one hand you really respect the kids for how hard they play and figuring out ways to get it done for the most part. On the other hand, when you feel like you have more to you, you’d like to be able to be more consistent and give our guys some breathing room.”
(The head-scratching things?) “Just certain plays we have every game where I’m like, I think we should be able to make that play. Or not make that error. I watch a lot of football —not just us — in terms of tape and even some high-performing teams have some of that stuff. You’re going to have it. But the margin for error, which is kind of how we’ve been all year, is slim. Those things get frustrating.”
(What did you think of JoJo McIntosh’s ejection?) “What do you mean what did I think of it?”
(Right call? Wrong call?) “Yeah, targeting is targeting. Seems like we have this conversation every week, and targeting is targeting. It’s hard. He’s coming in there kind of low and the receiver was low and it happens and they’re frustrating things but head out of the game is the number-one thing.”
(Did you think you had some things figured out up 21-0?) “No. That’s us. At times, the head-scratching stuff is like even at Cal. How we start the game, to go down there and run all those plays and get a touchdown, which is really hard to do, and then kind of go away for a while. That’s head-scratching. We come out and start for the whole first half for the most part against a good defense playing at a high level and come out the second half and make some plays but don’t get points like we need to get ’em. For whatever reason that’s just kind of how we’ve been, up and down, for games.”
(How much of that is on not making plays, and how much of that is Stanford making adjustments?) “I seem to think a lot of times the halftime thing is overrated. We don’t see teams come out and make these major adjustments. It’s tweaks, it’s a play here. … Oh, we haven’t got to this yet. We want to get back to that. There are some tweaks but it’s not like you’re coming out with a new game plan. What they were doing, I will say this: Stanford’s offense, they made plays. Our guys were in position, we had two guys at times or one guy in great shape, and the kids made plays. We’ve looked at that and maybe next year we probably do this, but at the end of the day, Costello threw some tight balls in some very tight windows and those big receivers made plays on that side of the ball to kind of bring them back. We didn’t make those type of plays on offense the second half to really get something going.” Chris Petersen on Stanford, Husky Stadium Taylor, be week
(On the benefit from substitution rules, to get guys off the field) “I think that always helps. When teams are no-huddle team and you run a handful of plays back to back, there’s a lot of energy expended, certainly in that D-Line. So to be able to rotate some fresh guys in there does matter. Couple that with the fact that they have to give us time to get out there and match when time is off the essence, that certainly helped.”
(Notice that Stanford subbed in situations where other teams wouldn’t?) “They were no different to me than us and a lot of teams. There’s certain plays you just don’t want to run with certain people. You’re always subbing. Now, you get in those crunch situations and your menu becomes a little tighter and more basic. But certain times it’s like, ‘We’re in this situation. I don’t want these plays. I need to get new people on there.’ And so it does happen.”
(Would you have been doing the same thing if you were David Shaw?) “I’m not doing that (second-guessing another coach). I don’t know. All I know is they subbed so we subbed.”
(On 4th-and-1, do you consider sending offense out to see if Stanford would jump?) “I hate that. We’re not doing that. Hut, hut, hut, hut and everyone walks off depressed. If we’re staying out there, we’re going for it.”
(Really hate it?) “I don’t like it. I think everybody knows what you’re doing. I think after the first two huts it’s, ‘Oh, here we go.’ Then you walk off the field all depressed. No, we were not going to see if they jumped offside. Stanford’s too smart for that, OK?”
(Thoughts on Hunter Bryant’s first game back?) “It was good to have him out there. It was different from practice and it was really good to have him back there and building up his stamina, building up his game speed and all those type of things. It was good to have him out there.”
(On sophomore DBs playing big roles on Saturday …) “I don’t think of them as young. They played all last year and we’re at Game 10. There’s a lot of meaningful reps that those guys have got. They really have throughout the course of the of the past two years. They didn’t bat an eye and we wouldn’t expect them to bat an eye. They really played like I thought they would.
(On Elijah Molden) “You see it on special teams all the time. He’s the guy in there making the tackle somehow, some way. He’s a fun guy to be around. He shows up everyday to go to work. he hasn’t been a full-time starter. That’s really rare for a guy to approach practice and all that. But then he gets his opportunity and plays really good and that’s not surprising because of how he prepares.
(On lack of energy before Cal and how practice went for Stanford) “I wouldn’t say that last week I felt a lack of energy. I felt a lack of execution in one practice that was like, ‘We’re better than this.’ And that carried over. These kids, I never felt they go out here and what is this, we’re just going through the motions now. I think you can go out there and work hard and not really get better. These practices are hard and you’re deep into the season and all those things. At times, there’s going to be ebbs and flows. Certain days, certain guys are going to be on the lower end and that’s when their teammates got to pick them up. Sometimes when it’s a handful of guys, I don’t know. That one practice that we had was not something that we’re accustomed to seeing around here. And it was just little stuff, alignment stuff. Maybe a drop ball here or there. All that little stuff, you could just tell. That’s what this is all about, attention to detail.”
(On how Myles Gaskin came out of the game) “I think he came out pretty good, I really do. We just watched tape yesterday and all that kind of stuff. I think he did good and it was nice to have him back in there.
(On the timing of the bye) “I think you’d always prefer for it to be kind of somewhere in the middle. We’re happy to have it now. It seems very strange to have it this late for sure. That’s kind of how the schedules go. I don’t know any coach that looks at their schedule and goes, ‘I really like this schedule, who we’re playing when and where the byes are.’ I’m glad we have it now. I think ideally it would’ve been somewhere more in the middle.”
(On the schedule for the week) “When we say get away, what we really mean is get out of this building a little more. We got school and all those type of things. We have a practice this week. They have a little bit of weights. But other than that, time is definitely minimized and I definitely want them not thinking about football here for the next handful of days if we can. I think that’s important.”
(Any update on Vicis helmet involvement?) “We have a couple of guys that are wearing them. I think they are still one of the top-rated helmets and there’s another one out there that is there with them. I think Elijah Molden is one of the guys that has been wearing the Vicis for a while. I think he’s kind of gone back-and-forth with another one. I kind of look at that and think it’s really cool there’s competition out there with some of these helmets that’s going to continue to breed innovation and safety and those kind of things. We have a couple handful of guys that are in them and we’re going to keep pushing that with the guys that come in and spring ball. I think one thing that helps is some of the rankings on the helmets. We show them the rankings so they can make their own educated decisions.”
(Improvement on fit and feel?) “I think the guys that have been wearing them like them.”
(On illegal formation penalties) “The one thing is, we have a lot of formations. We’re in an unbalanced formation a lot. But they’re nerve-wracking. We call them sins. Self-inflicted negatives are what they are. It’s just like, ‘Really?’ We spent a lot of time. We have reps in practice at least once a week if not twice paying attention to that. We do some little things in terms of where we spot the ball to make it tougher on the wideouts and tight ends so they can’t always use the line to judge where they line up. We spend a lot of time on that.”
(On UW’s two chop blocks against Stanford) “One was poor communication on what one guy was going to do so one guy didn’t know that he was going to go low and high and we usually don’t even do that. The other one was kind of one of those unfortunate ones that happens really fast where one guy is going and the other guy puts a hand. These aren’t something that are random. We have a whole session every week, we call it football intelligence. Just different things that come up whether it’s from or throughout the country. We spend time looking at this and discussing it because it’s hard to replicate in practice. Every single week we’ll go through stuff like that. You’re not trying to replicate a chop block in in practice. But they come up and we’ll show them. To have two in one game is rare.”
(Back to fundamentals during bye week?) “Absolutely. Part of it, certainly, is looking at ourselves and self-scout. It’s hard to spend a lot of time on yourself because we’re so cramped for time, so we have a little extra time to look at ourselves and go, ‘What are we missing here?’ And practice is set up to go back and hammer out the fundamentals. We try to have that in every part of every practice anyways, fundamental things. That’s what individual drills are all about. But we’ll spend a little bit more time emphasizing that.”
(Areas to address) “I don’t think there’s any one or two areas. I think there’s … it’s always the basics. With body position, hand placement, eyes. All basic fundamentals. If you have one of those things out of place, it is going to be a problem. Need to go back and make sure the tackling thing is appropriate. That’s hard in Game 10, but I think our guys have been pretty solid. But we still have missed tackles out there and so you try to recreate those a little bit and be smart with those guys in how we do it.”
(With players stepping away will it benefit when they come back next week?) “I really think at this point in the season (the benefit) is more mental than physical anyway. We’ve cut down practice. Most coaches have. We don’t spend as much time on the practice field. We don’t spend as much time in full pads, certainly. So all that, physically we’re very, very aware of, OK, how reps and how many reps do they have in the game? Does this guy need less reps? We’re on that pretty good. I think it’s all mental. Certainly, the grind of this season has taken a toll on a lot of guys, so to get a couple days to catch your breath and not think about football is really healthy.”
(Did you learn anything about Browning the way he handled all that?) “I learned nothing. I would expect nothing different from him. I’ve been around that guy a long time. Everything that transpired did not surprise me and was probably pretty appropriate.”
(On Trey Adams: Has he communicated to you that he plans to come back next season?) “Yeah, I think that’s the plan. I think that’s the plan right now. But, you know, things are always fluid.”
(Ccould more true freshmen still play?) “Yeah, I think there’s guy who are available. It’s still really difficult to just throw them in there, like‘Oh, we’re going to get them in there on this special teams.’ Well, they haven’t really been taking a bunch of these first-team, second-team special teams reps. We’re still going to do some of that, but it’s not quite as simple as: ‘Awesome. Plug him in. He’s ready to go.’ But we are looking at that and we might see a couple more of those guys in there. But we are very aware of the difficulty of that.”
(Will you watch Oregon State-Stanford live this Saturday night?) “I haven’t got that far, but I probably will.”
(Have you talked much to Jonathan Smith?) “I haven’t talked to him at all. I really haven’t. I think a couple of our other coaches, I don’t think they called him but they’ve texted. I just leave guys alone the best I can during the season and I’ll talk to them afterwards.”
(Was that Keith Taylor’s best game?) “We felt really good. I think Keith has been making great progress. It’s hard having Jordan (Miller) out — a senior like that who’s played so much and this is his senior year. You hate for that to happen. But on the other hand, Keith is another one of those true sophomores we were talking about who’s ready to go, ready to play. He’s improving and getting better. It was good to see against a team that throws it well and some good receivers.”