Everything Kalen DeBoer said at his Monday press conference as Washington prepares for Stanford
The 18th-ranked Huskies take on Stanford this upcoming Saturday, hoping to keep the momentum rolling after a potentially season-defining win over Michigan State this past weekend. The Spartans entered the game ranked 11th nationally, and Washington sprinted out to a 29-8 lead in the first half before winning 39-28.
Coach Kalen DeBoer talked about that win, and Stanford going forward when he met with reporters on Monday.
Here are select quotes from DeBoer’s time at the dais, with video of the full press conference at the bottom.
“I know we kind of recapped it in a lot of different ways, whether it was Saturday night or with the coordinators here, but it felt good to wake up Sunday morning and see that flag flying, that W. We fly it after every win the whole week. We fly the W and it’s dubs up all week long.
“But we’ve already moved on. Last night, after we met as a team and knocked out our meetings and made our corrections, we spent a little time on the field moving around, getting the bodies going, and it’s time to move on. Less than 24 hours after a nice win — a big win for us — we’re on to Stanford. We’re excited about the energy that existed yesterday, that should exist tomorrow in practice when we get back on the football field. We’re also understanding that there’s so many things that could have been even better than what happened Saturday night. So I know we’ve got a group of guys that felt that way at the beginning, that this could be where we’re at. And now they see stacking days on top of days, practices on top of practices, and now games on top of games, they see all the hard work paying off and the belief and trust in each other coming through.
“They’re in a good spot. But we can’t get full of ourselves. We’ve got a big game this weekend, starting conference play. We know Stanford had the weekend off, so they’re going to be fresh. They had time to get ready to play us this weekend, had a chance to watch us and do some prep even before this weekend.”
On a statement win
“Week 1 we had to play, just to get on the football field and see where we’re at and feel that continuity. You could tell we were stacking plays on top of plays. Week 1 and 2 were very similar because of who we were facing. And then a test against a top-ranked team, a team that’s coming across the country that’s very well-recognized and respected. For our guys to prove that, it showed in their preparation that there was confidence. You can hear confidence through communication. You can hear it just in the way they are throughout the week. ‘Respect all, fear none’ is certainly a common theme that we have in our locker room. But it still can’t just be words, and we needed to prove it (wasn’t). We respected them throughout the week. As much as we want to prove things to other people, first we have to prove it to ourselves. We did that.
“Guys are fired up. I don’t think they’re surprised, but I know they’re really, in retrospect, thinking about where they’re at and their confidence now compared to where they’ve been in the past weeks, months, years. It’s pretty cool to see. That’s why you do what you do as a football coach, not just building a great team but helping guys realize you can become even more than what you think you can. We’re on that path.”
On Ryan Grubb’s play-calling
“It’s just been awesome, seeing it. How hard he works at making sure he knows and has a plan in place and knows what defenses are going to do. But first, it starts with humility. He just constantly is asking questions, learning, meeting with people. As proud of a play-caller he is, in the summer months and in the spring he is not afraid to bounce something off me. Nothing too big, nothing too small. It starts with that humility and desire to have a growth mindset and always continue to get better. Then it goes to just the work ethic he has. There are very few people that are ever going to beat him to the office and be here any later. So him understanding and seeing what’s out there on the football field, he’s locked in. You can see what he’s saying is almost happening before it’s happening. ‘Hey, this safety is going to widen at the snap.’ Oh, yep, there he goes. ‘This linebacker is leaving space for someone to fill that area.’ That’s what’s happening when you click on the film on Sunday.
“What’s really cool is hearing that the checks that Mike makes or the things that happen are pretty much being discussed on the headphones before they’re made – that check Mike might make, or, ‘Hey, this is going to be a throw,’ or, ‘This is going to be a handoff on an RPO.’ That’s happening. I heard Coach Grubb talking about the one protection Mike didn’t check. It’s the time he really got hit. That was being discussed on the sidelines over the headphones with Coach Grubb and a couple other coaches as well, all in sync. Just the management, the organization leads to great belief in the team. When there’s that belief that goes both ways, between coordinator and quarterback, coordinator and coaches, coordinator and coaching staff and the players, and now the players giving it back to them … we’re able to be really aggressive right now because we’re confident Mike will be OK with checking it down and not forcing it down the field and putting it in a tough spot where the ball is being turned over or holding onto the ball too long.
“In the two-minute drill going down the field at the end of the first half, there’s about five or six scenarios that you’ve got to be ready for when you don’t have the timeouts and stuff. There’s 30 seconds on the clock and it’s fourth down. It’s not just that play, but you’ve got to be ready for the next play or two after that. We’re all in sync and it’s really cool and it’s fun to see him. There’s times and places where you just don’t get in his way. You give him the advice he needs to hear or the things he needs to hear, managing the game.
On Mike Penix Jr. getting some Heisman hype
“t doesn’t surprise me. He was in it before a couple years ago at this time in the season. You’ve got to win football games, I think (that) is a huge part of anything when it comes to those types of awards. I think if he just keeps his focus on what it’s been, and that’s winning football games, he’s naturally going to be a big part of us winning. So, if we just focus on winning football games, those individual accolades will come. It’s fun. That’s the way it is. Not just with the quarterback position but the other positions as well. Pour into the team. Pour into winning. Pour into being the best you can, and we say live with the results, but the results will come in the form and fashion of getting those accolades.”
On the play of Carson Bruener and Davon Banks on special teams
“Really noticeable. Made sure I addressed that in a strong way yesterday in the team meeting. Just how Bruener’s hit and Davon had a couple two weeks ago, and where we’re at now with the improvement we’ve made special teams-wise. We’re not there yet, but in that area in particular we’re trying to get those kicks deeper and deeper and deeper. But, hey, if they’re going to get returned, alright, let’s go down and set the tone and be physical. Understand our assignments, which we’re getting better at every single week, feeding off each other. It’s more complex than just running down as hard as you can and trying to tackle the ball-carrier. There’s a lot happening. If you do that, you’ll get out-schemed and out-techniqued and all that. And then, the mindset. You don’t know which way the ball carrier is going to be and all of a sudden, he’s in your lap and you’ve got a chance to make that big hit. Davon and Bruener and those guys all just being ready for the moment, it was pretty sweet seeing that. Proud of the guys, special teams, the buy-in. Some of the biggest field-changing times of the game are on special teams. So, we preach that. I’ve told them for the three national championships, all three national championships had special teams’ touchdowns in them. So that’s always going to be a big part of what’s preached in our program.”
On using the atmosphere vs. Michigan State to sell the program
“It’s huge. We can talk about it and what the feel is, talk about the family and just making this such a great experience for our guys, and winning is a huge part of that. It was a great advertisement for our program, whether it be across the country, but even just people that got to experience (it in Seattle), whether it be the fans, but in particular as you referred with our recruits that were here — committed, uncommitted. Those guys just really experiencing it. There were some (pieces) I guess that were eye-opening, like ‘Wow, this place is special. This place is different.’ And they got a chance to see it first-hand.”
On the defensive line
“Honestly, I thought they all did a really good job and I think they are straining. … They knew they had to raise their game. All those guys: Tuli (Letuligasenoa), Faatui (Tuitele), M.J. (Ale). I was excited for M.J. because I told him this too either Friday night or Saturday morning … I really thought he had a next level. Coming off his injury, his recovery has been good and now he’s actually thriving again. He’s actually progressing physically. I was really excited to see him get out there and I think he had a great game, 15-20 snaps. Just did a really nice job. They’re playing within the scheme. They’re doing what they’re being asked to do. They’re not going to get a lot of the tackles, other guys are going to get those tackles, but they’re eating up blocks, and a guy like M.J. in particular, he’s going to eat up a lot of people. We know how hard that is, and I know how hard that’s been over the years to block guys that size. Tuli’s snapping off the ball at the line of scrimmage and causing problems. Tui has also been consistent and constant every single play.”