Chris Petersen on Huskies’ offensive struggles: ‘We can coach them better’
Washington coach Chris Petersen reiterates he miscalculated on fake punt and says blame for the Huskies’ first loss rests with him and his staff.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The evaluation of the Huskies after their first defeat of the season, Washington coach Chris Petersen said, starts with him and his staff.
“We can be better on offense. I think we all know that,” Petersen said Monday, two days after the Huskies’ 20-13 defeat against Stanford at home. “And we can coach them better. And that’s what I feel. That’s why it’s like you cannot wait to get your hands on the tape and look at it and go, ‘How can we help these kids — in a really systematic, logical, simplistic fashion?”
Petersen and the Huskies have an extra week to outfit an improved offense. The Huskies (4-1, 0-1 Pac-12) are off this week before playing two consecutive conference games, at California on Oct. 11 and at Oregon on Oct. 18. The UW-Cal game will kick off in Berkeley at 3 p.m. for a Pac-12 Networks broadcast, it was announced Monday.
The UW offense was held to 179 yards — 2.6 yards per play — against a Stanford defense ranked No. 1 in the nation. Because of the strength of that Stanford defense, and because of the inconsistent play of the UW offense in the first month of the season, Petersen said the offensive struggles Saturday weren’t a total surprise.
“I could kind of feel it coming on offense,” he said. “Now it’s forefront and in our players’ faces.”
One adjustment, he said, will be to simplify things for the offense and sophomore quarterback Cyler Miles.
“I know everyone always wants to jump on the quarterback, especially when we’re struggling like we were. And some of it is the quarterback,” he added. “But there’s enough issues to go around — starting with coaching. We’ve got to coach our offense better, coach our quarterback better.”
Petersen said he never considered pulling Miles in favor of backup Jeff Lindquist against Stanford.
“It’s not just Cyler. It’s everybody. We’ve got to get better at all these positions and help him out,” Petersen said. “I don’t want to put this on Cyler. The whole offense needs to be designed to make the quarterback successful. So how can we do that? Well, we’ve got to run the ball. It starts there. …
“But let’s not overlook the fact, too — I think Stanford is darn good. I don’t want to minimize that. I want those guys to get their credit.”
On the fake punt
The score was tied 13-13 in the fourth quarter, and UW was facing a fourth-and-nine at its own 47-yard line when the fake punt was called.
Shaq Thompson’s sneaky rushing attempt gained nothing, Stanford took over possession and scored the go-ahead touchdown six plays later.
Petersen on Monday reiterated “how poor it was of a call on my part on that fake punt. That won’t happen again.”
In his last five seasons at Boise State, Petersen called for a fake punt six times while in his own territory, converting five, according to ESPN.
“I will say this: We’ll take chances,” Petersen said. “That’s who we are and I’m not scared to take chances, and we will. But they’ll be more calculated. That doesn’t mean that they’re all going to work. Whether you’re running trick plays or trying to get something going on special teams, you’ll get some things blown up on you, but that was a poor call on my part.”