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January 1, 2015

Chris Petersen


THE MODERATOR:  We'll begin today with Washington head coach Chris Petersen.
COACH PETERSEN:  Good morning.  Happy New Year.
Well, we're a little bit redundant from what I said yesterday.  We're excited to be here.  We've had good preparations.  I think the kids have worked really hard, stayed very focused.  I think the big thing now is just how that translates to tomorrow night.  You know, just such a long time off.
I thought our kids were in a pretty good rhythm the last three, four weeks of our season in terms of preparing, improving, all those type of things.
I think you watch these bowl games, there's certainly some adjustment periods.  Seems like one of the teams really comes out fast, and the other team kind of gets on their heels, then both teams settle down and play football.  So you're concerned about that, that you can come out and kind of hit the ground running.
But we're excited to play and glad this game is finally here.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions.

Q.  When you come into a game like this in Oklahoma State's case and you lose perhaps your best player in between the time the regular season ended and the bowl game, have you been in a situation before similar to that?  What effect can that have on your team?
COACH PETERSEN:  You know, I have been in that situation.  A few years ago we sent our best player home from a bowl game.  That can even be more unsettling because it's right before the game.
But what I think, you know, kids adjust, they rally.  You adapt and you play ball.  Over time it seems like a team is a team, and they come together.
You certainly hate when anything like that happens.  It's painful to go through.  It's disruptive, all those type of things.  But we ended up winning the game.
So I think that the kids can get it and adjust and they'll be very focused on playing their best ball.

Q.  How close do you think you got to reaching what you thought your potential could be offensively this season?
COACH PETERSEN:  Well, I don't know.  Like I said, I think we made some good strides that last third of the season.  I thought that's kind of how we were hoping to play probably more early on.
So, you know, I don't know what the potential is.  I still think we have more to us, more in us.  I do think the last part of the season was certainly more enjoyable for everybody on offense when you feel like you're getting better.  I mean, I kind of said this way back when.
As a coach, the kids as well, what I really want to feel like is like you're playing at a high level/improving.  If you can do those things, you feel good about what's going on.  I think we felt like that the latter part of the season.

Q.  What were the biggest areas of growth for Myles?  The pocket presence, is that one area you felt he got more comfortable?
COACH PETERSEN:  I think he was a little bit better in the pocket.  I think he anticipated and saw some things a little bit cleaner and a little bit faster.  I think when you're moving some tape, practice, whatever, it's that anticipation.  It's like you just got to trust those holes a little bit more, throw it in there on time.  That's really a hard thing.  It's really the difference between somebody playing good defense and you playing better offense.
I think you could see some of that over these bowl games.  You saw some of it yesterday, guys sliding in the pocket, getting the ball out on time, fitting it into tight windows.
That's the thing that I think he got a little bit better at.  That's the whole deal of playing quarterback in terms of being great in the pocket, throwing with anticipation/decision making, however you want to say that.  I think he made some strides there.

Q.  Looking at the other side of the ball, it's very rare to get three All‑Americans off a team in any year.  But to get three on one side of the ball, could you foresee that before the season started?
COACH PETERSEN:  No.  And I think it's kind of interesting how sometimes I think all those things are so political sometimes.  I think there's a lot of kids that deserve awards that don't get 'em, don't get the recognition.
All of us coaches have been doing this for a long time.  You're thinking, Huh?  How did he not become this first team All‑American?
I think one thing is, there's just a lot of good players out there.  I think Hau'oli coming back, had a lot of sacks last year, so there were a lot of eyes on him.  And if a guy has a lot of eyes on him and can produce, good things will happen in terms of recognition.
I think the same thing for Shaq Thompson.  He's such a unique athlete.  He produced and made some plays on defense.  Then when we got in trouble at runningback injury‑wise, we were able to kick him over there.  He did some good things for a couple games, again all eyes on him, he produced.
The guy that I'm happy for as well is Danny Shelton.  Those nose guards, interior D‑line men, can be overshadowed.  Like you're talking about, you get a couple other guys that are getting a lot of notoriety, sometimes we can't give him too much because they already got a couple guys.
I think Danny has played as well as anybody around.  He's just done such a great job inside.  Usually those guys are eating up blocks, letting the other guys make plays.  He's done that, but he's also made some plays for himself.
It is unique and rare.  I think there are some other guys out there that are equally deserving, but it's great for those guys to get that recognition.

Q.  How much will the result of this game go into your evaluation of the season?  Do you believe it can provide momentum going into the off‑season?  Is the progress you made progress win or lose?
COACH PETERSEN:  I think so.  I think every coach feels that about a bowl game, the last game of a season.
I think that last game is so important, I really do.  That's one of the things that's so interesting about the College Football Playoff.  You get those four teams in there, two of them are going to be going out here, and that's just such a sour taste in your mouth, even though what a tremendous season for those guys.
To be able to win your last game, even if you're not going to a bowl game, means a little something.  Certainly if you are going to a bowl game, to get that last one I think is really important to everybody.

Q.  Can you compare anybody that Oklahoma State reminds you of that you have played in non‑league or the PAC‑12?
COACH PETERSEN:  I think everybody is so unique.  Everybody has their own styles.  We've seen these plays, after playing as many games as we've played, we've seen these fronts and blitzes.  But everybody has their unique packages.
We've seen movement, all those type of things, that Oklahoma State does.  But they kind of hone it down to make it their own unique style.  Then, of course, everybody has their little twists for bowl games with having time on their hands.
So I don't think there's any one team I say, This is just like these guys.  Certainly like Oklahoma State is seeing us.  There's nothing we do that they haven't seen before.  It's just a matter of getting your guys to play your style better than the other guys.

Q.  Is there any way to explain why a team like TCU comes out so great yesterday, meanwhile Oklahoma was so flat the day before?  Any way to explain why that happens in bowl games?
COACH PETERSEN:  Yeah, I don't know.  I think all coaches wish they had the magic formula to that deal.
But I think TCU, Gary, what a great job.  You could go two ways on that.  TCU, everybody knows how good they were this year.  A lot of talk they should be in that tournament, and weren't.  They don't get in.  You can kind of lose a little bit of steam or you can go the way they did, rise up, have a chip on your shoulder, say, Let's go show everybody.
They did an awesome job.
But I don't know how you get that mindset.  I mean, I know every coach, that's what you want.  But to get it done is another issue.

Q.  Chris, being that this game is played on New Year's Eve, did you give your guys a talk about last night to block out outside?
COACH PETERSEN:  Really, that night wasn't any different than the last whatever nights we've been here.  It's always a fine line when you're at bowl games, you really want the kids to enjoy this process.  The seasons are so hard.  They've worked so hard on both sides to get here, to whatever bowl game you're going to.
So you really want this to be a special occasion, a reward.  But you got to keep it in perspective.  You're still here to play a game and to play your best.  If you have other things in mind, you're not going to play your best.
The talk really wasn't any different than it's been from day one, certainly before we got here, to now.

Q.  You look at certain games going in.  You guys have this philosophy of opening it up, you'll do whatever it takes offensively.  You've done that in Arizona before.  Is that something you did all year, meaning trick play, risks, gambles?
COACH PETERSEN:  I mean, you're always just trying to figure out how to move the ball is really what it is.  If you think something like that will work, you do it.
You know, I think everybody in bowl games has these trick plays.  You see everybody doing them.  It's not unique to I think any one person.  I think what you're just trying to do is figure out how to move the ball.
Really when it comes down to it, your base package is 99% of the time, you know, offense running a trick play or two, the rest is just what you do.
Our defense as well, we got to play with great eyes, be on point, know that they're going to try some of that.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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