Tailgate Talk

Petersen: Defense dominates closed UW scrimmage

A veteran defense had its way in Washington’s first scrimmage Monday, which was closed to the media.
That’s not a surprise, considering UW is trying to replace a senior quarterback and one of the best rushers in the Pac-12. Early in camp, that offense is going to have issues against a defense that returns each starting lineman and two starting linebackers.

Here’s a transcript of UW coach Chris Petersen’s meeting with the media after practice today.

What did you learn from the scrimmage yesterday?

“The defense is a little ahead, maybe a lot ahead of the offense. Typical first scrimmage. I think that’s probably how it needs to be from a head-coach perspective, where you’re never good (enough). Whoever does well, you’re always worried about the other side of the ball. I think at this point if your offense is doing some really good things against your defense, it’s probably not good in the long run. Defense got about four turnovers, two of them went for scores, so they were flying around pretty good. Eventually, we got a few things going on offense, but we definitely got to sure up some details.”

How much of that is the uncertainty at quarterback?

“Some of that is the quarterback, yeah, no question about it. When our quarterbacks play good, usually the offense does at least OK, if he’s playing good. And you get the guys around him playing good, then you got something special.”

None of us can see that QB situation sorting itself out yet. Are you having the same struggle?

“That’s why they’re all getting reps. It’s going to be a work in progress. Eventually, when we get the first guy named for the first game, it doesn’t mean it’s done and over. Everybody’s going to keep competing. If certain guys make progress, they’re going to earn more reps and get the chance to play. That’s what we’re trying to do: create as many games situations as we can and see who can do what.”

What has Will Dissly done early to separate himself on that second-string D-line?

First of all, he’s real smart. He’s figured out what’s going on. I think when he kind of figures out the pace and tempo of the college game, and plays a little more physical, he’s going to do some really good things. He’s done a real nice job up to this point. For those new guys, I kind of marvel at those guys when they’re even in the mix this early. And Will — we have a handful of freshmen doing a really nice job. Those young DBs are competing their tails off and showing up, so that’s nice to see.”

Is the IQ thing what separates freshmen right away?

“Yeah, I think it’s the mental part of things for sure. One, figuring out the schemes we’re running. And, two, having the confidence to compete at this level. And those guys are showing that.”

Anyone else jump out at you on defense from the scrimmage?

“I thought Shaq did a good job. Tani (Tupou) was running around; he hit the quarterback and caused a fumble and Feeney scooped it up and went a long ways and scored with it. They were flying around pretty good. There was a lot of guys. I think the guys, again, the guys that might’ve jumped out to me the most is those young DBs, just because that’s such a hard position to do anything and I thought they battled and competed pretty well.”

Quarterbacks were live, then?

“They were live. They were live the whole scrimmage. We went about a hundred plays and they all showed up today, so that’s good.”

Any heart-stopping moments for you?

“No. Not really. Every play is a heart-stopping — I worry about all the guys as much as I do the quarterbacks. Those guys being live isn’t necessarily for the defense, it’s for themselves, to really try to figure some things out. And it showed up. And I wish we could make them live more, but I do think we have to be careful and smart. But I think they got some good work too being live.”

Micah Rice

Columbian Sports Editor Micah Rice is the author of Tailgate Talk: College football from a Clark County perspective.

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