At his Monday media briefing, Chris Petersen assessed different players and position areas like a quarterback surveying a defense, checking off plays. His demeanor was calm throughout the process—except when he saw a blitz coming.
Mention of senior offensive tackle Trey Adams made his voice raise up and his posture stiffen.
Asked about the physical condition of arguably his best player, someone with preseason All-America plaudits and absent from the season opener against Auburn with an injury, the Washington football coach turned it around on his inquisitor.
“You tell me,” Petersen shot back, saying how clearly annoyed he was that media members had been reaching out to Adams personally for an answer, which, in his mind, was a program no-no.
Adams missed a large chunk of last season with a knee injury. The Seattle Times reported that the lineman is dealing with a back injury that could force him to miss most or all of the season. Petersen, who typically doesn't address injuries publicly, offered no update.
Stepping in for Adams was junior Jared Hilbers, who made his first career start in Atlanta. His coach was more than satisfied with what he saw from the 6-foot-7, 313-pound Oregon native against an overly aggressive Auburn front wall.
“He did an outstanding job,” Petersen said. “He will player better, too. Jared has got the tools to be a very good football player.”
From the Auburn game, the coach singled out the physicality of his entire offensive line, his wide receiver corps making difficult catches and his linebackers holding up under great pressure.
Senior Tevis Bartlett will continue to play both inside and outside linebacker, which Petersen said was a rare skill.
“He’s a swing guy for sure,” the coach pointed out. “Not many guys can do that.”
On the downside, Petersen said he would readdress the play-calling in the red zone where Washington squandered big chances against Auburn, and he put some of that blame on himself. He also said his team didn’t respond well at crucial times.
“We didn’t play our best ball when we needed it, especially on offense,” Petersen said. “We didn’t step up when we needed it.”
Washington has no lineup changes as it enters a week of preparation for Saturday’s home opener against North Dakota, an FCS team.