Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer held court with local reporters for nearly 30 minutes on Monday to discuss the team’s season-opening win over Kent State.

The Huskies (1-0) opened up the DeBoer era with a 45-20 win. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. played well in his first game for UW after transferring from Indiana this offseason — completing 26 of his 39 passes for 345 yards and four scores. Penix played largely mistake-free. Wideouts Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan each hauled in touchdowns, with Odunze totaling 84 yards on seven catches while McMillan added 87 on five.

The defense produced three takeaways and held Kent State to just 5 yards a play.

On Monday, DeBoer broke down the game, commented on getting the game ball from his team after, and previewed this week’s matchup with Portland State.

You can read everything he said below, with the video of his presser at the bottom.

Opening statement

“Saturday was just a lot of great moments throughout the last eight, nine months coming together and getting what you hoped, and that’s a W. I’m proud of our guys, proud of our staff, all the work they’ve put in. It re-emphasized the things that we’ve worked on — whether it be schematics, fundamentals, chemistry, response to adversity. I just think a lot of those things, those teaching moments, showed up in different ways — (though) maybe not at the extreme level that we may have down the road when we face Pac-12 teams.

“It was fun to get that first one under our belt, maybe even a little relief for some of the guys, just to get that first win and be 1-0. And then we’ll see where we’re at, the reality of where we’re at and what we can be. There’s always areas to fix and improve on. Everywhere I’ve been, I put it to the team this way — from Week 1 to Week 2, or Year 1 to Year 2, those are the biggest improvements that you make. So we need to push ourselves to make sure we have a big improvement from Week 1 to Week 2, and it has nothing to do about the opponent we’re playing. It has all to do about us.

“Excited to see the guys’ energy after getting a W and seeing them take the field yesterday for a short, brief practice. I felt like our minds (are) in the right place and we’re ready to get back to work. Tomorrow we start that with our planning for Portland State.”

On getting the game ball by Alex Cook

“That really meant a lot. Just AC in particular, hearing some of the thoughts that he shares with his teammates and this team just means a lot. It means a lot to me, but that’s the whole staff because the whole staff’s involved in all of this — whether it be the organization, the building of our relationships, and chemistry. For AC to step up and do that, it represents six years that he’s been part of this program. I look at it this way, just like I’ve approached it with the alumni, there’s a lot of people who have spent way more time, blood, sweat, and tears in this program than I have, and I’m just fortunate and blessed to be a part of it right now and help build on things that AC and those who have been here for many years have done already.”

On if he was nervous for his first game

“Not really, honestly. I think when you when you prepare well and you’re confident in your preparation — talking about our team, not just myself individually — when you know that you’ve done everything you can and you know you’re in a good spot, you just have to go out there and coach with confidence, play with confidence, and whatever the result is you live with.

“… I can just go back to times where you sit in the press box and It’s like, why sit here and stress and get all nervous? Embrace the energy. Embrace the excitement that comes along with being in a stadium. Think about how many people would love to be in your shoes. Whether as a player or coach, that’s just kind of the way I’ve got my mind tuned into it. Yeah, there’s some things you kind of wonder, like, ‘I hope it goes this way early on, or we can get a good lead, get a good start. That would help the guys out and their confidence.’ And that obviously happened, but I think it just comes down to cutting it loose and playing free. That’s the thing I challenged the guys with all week long and emphasized even before we got on the bus to head to the stadium.”

On Husky Stadium

“This place is special. I’ll say this: I’ve been here one other game in 2017, I was on the wrong sideline with Fresno State. I experienced full-fledged what that was like. So it doesn’t surprise me what this place can be. But you can tell that this crowd loves its football. It was awesome to hear the excitement and the energy, and you could feel it from really the first time we stepped on the field and came out right before gametime, and then the kickoff and the interception by Asa. There’s going to be a lot of fun moments in this stadium. Husky Nation, I can’t emphasize enough how important they are to our success and the energy that we feed off of.”

On Penix’s performance

“You want to get off to a good start for him. But (offensive coordinator Ryan) Grubb did a great job of really making sure the plan was well-understood by everyone. Because it isn’t just Mike. It’s everyone. There is just a presence Mike had from the first plays he stepped on the field, pregame warmups. You can just keep working backward through the week and you just kind of realize this guy has played a lot of snaps at a high level. You were comforted with that. There were subtle things that happened in the game that a newer quarterback or a less experienced quarterback, they would not recognize and they would not be in tune to — whether it be adjustments by the defense, things that the defense is saying. There were some tough looks that we were not fully prepared for, just because it was new. You didn’t see it on film, and Mike was 100% locked.

“I heard the questions about the offensive line and him staying upright. The offensive line executed, but there were also some checks and some adjustments and identification of where pressures were coming from where Mike just got us into the perfect look, the perfect protection. And then he knew and trusted the offensive line was going to do their job, stayed upright, stayed in the pocket. You look at our touchdown passes, a lot of them took a little bit of time to develop. It wasn’t just the first initial move, it was a guy making a move and then coming out of a break. Mike identified where those one-on-one matchups were at pretty much every single time and took advantage of it. So I thought he did a great job. He’s just super poised from that experience over all those years, and I’m just glad that he cut it loose as well, just like I challenged the rest of the team.”

On home-field advantage

“It’s amazing. This place is crazy special when it comes to home-field advantage and we’re going to need that. I’ll just put it this way — I’ve been on the other side. You go to a place that has a good atmosphere and you may have a lead and the other team makes one play — the home team makes one play — and all of a sudden the crowd is erupting. It feels like you may be up by 14 points, but it’s like ‘Woah, this is not good.’ Just that atmosphere, that energy, that noise, it’s going to create problems, whether it be the momentum and the vibe or even just trying to snap the ball because it’s so loud. It’s a huge impact. It goes both ways, right? Our team has to make the plays to get the energy going. Getting some energy, just helping kick-start, jump-start our team is super important.”

On Asa Turner

“His worth ethic. I mean, I swear he is living somewhere in this building. You know he’s got a bed, he’s got his dresser, he’s got all his clothes somewhere in this building. He is here non-stop, all day, every day. That’s not just this fall. That was this spring. That was this winter. He just is around the building. He’s either doing treatment on his body to make sure that the next day of practice he’s feeling good, it might be watching film on his own and it’s coming up to ask a coach a question about the film he’s watching.

“He’s in the weight room stretching. He’s getting some extra lifts in on his own by himself. That preparation leads to confidence. And then practicing, and the way he practices, which is hard all the time. Getting out there on the field for that first play wasn’t unlike anything he had done in practice just because he practices that hard. Everything he puts into it, preparation, he had the trust that that receiver was going to be coming to him. And then he did his job and trusted — I think it was Dom (Hampton) outside of him who did his job – that they would be in the right spot. The reads took him right to where the ball was at and then he made a play. It’s just fun to see because he’s a great person all-around. There’s a reason why he’s going to be AC’s kids’ godfather, right? Just tells you what type of person he is.”

On the corner depth:

“We’ve moved some guys around there. You saw Juice (Julius) Irvin take some snaps. We gotta keep building some depth. I’d be sitting here lying that you lose a guy like Jordan Perryman that everything’s the same. Jordan, just in his recovery process throughout the week, won’t be taking as many reps and that gives these guys more opportunities to keep feeling confident. They know the scheme, it’s not about that, it’s just trusting their technique and seeing the Portland State offense. That trust that I talk about with Asa, that’s happening with the corner position now too. So, we need to build depth and sometime we’re hopefully going to look at this as a blessing in disguise maybe weeks down the road where we’re building more depth on our team.”

On Perryman’s status for Portland State

“We are hoping that he plays. It’s definitely not anything that seems to be long-term. So, he’ll be working day-to-day through it.”

On getting a ton of guys on the field

“I just feel like with where our roster is at we need those guys that haven’t had a lot of experience on the field, we need them to keep growing. Some of the plays maybe were special teams. As much as we say, ‘Hey, special teams you gotta have your best players out there,’ because those are the big chunk yardage plays, right? The ball is kicked every single time and it goes farther than any other play — most plays anyway. So special teams did a huge part of it. But seeing those guys go out there and do their thing, it gives you more confidence that, whether it be regular scrimmage plays or bigger situations, those guys are going to have the confidence in themselves and that we can have confidence in them to go out there and play.

“We’ve got to build that depth all across the program because I just feel like if there’s a weakness — I’ve said this in a press conference before — where we’re at right now we don’t have that depth at a lot of spots. That doesn’t mean we don’t have the players. It just means there’s not a lot of experience beyond the starters in the amount of football that they’ve played.”

On the run game

“I would’ve liked to see us average a little more per carry. We got halted at the goal line at the end of the game. We had a couple short-yardage plays early on where the box is packed pretty good, I think we went to where we could go and we threw the ball well and successfully. I think the running game will just continue to evolve. I thought seeing the compliment of backs, whether it be Wayne (Taulapapa), Will (Nixon), I thought CD (Cameron Davis) came in and did some really nice things. We’re still learning about these guys and what their strengths are. They’re still feeling out the offense. Everyone on the team is new to the offense, but those guys in particular didn’t practice this spring. So they’ve had one or maybe two scrimmages of live tackling to show us what they can do. I think it’s just going to continue to evolve throughout the fall with that position. It’s going to get more competitive as well as we continue to get some of these guys like Richard (Newton) and Sam (Adams III) back throughout the rest of the season.”

On special teams

“Their kickoff return? I think it always starts with the kick, right? We have specific spots where that kick needs to go. And we expect the ball to be in a certain spot and it’s got to have some level of hang time for us to just physically run down the field. Doesn’t matter how fast you are. We had the kick at a certain spot on the field. When that doesn’t happen, some of the things start breaking down quickly on us, especially if they have a scheme matched up, a return matched up that isn’t matching up where that kick went. And then I think there are some new faces in some new spots as we move guys around. You kind of determine, okay, maybe this guy isn’t really the one that needs to be in this spot on the kickoff and that’s not what he does best. But we do have to do a better job overall, special teams-wise.

“I pointed out to the team there were really four plays that were plays that made a difference on special teams. There were many more plays where we did a great job. You point to the kickoff return. You point to the punt return on our end where the ball bounced another 20, I think 21 yards. We got pinned deep in our own territory after that. And then the fumble on our kickoff return. We had a punt that was a short 20-yard net. Those are the four plays that we have to fix because those were plays that were significant in as far as special teams and the results. It wasn’t like they kind of got us there. Those plays need to get executed a lot better. So, we’ll be definitely focused on that. Whether it be the personnel that’s in those specific spots. Or just making sure we continue to hash out and those guys understand what their responsibilities are in the scheme.”

On Jack McCallister as the starting punter

“Jack was the choice for us to punt. Kevin (Ryan) has done a nice job. Jack, you can see the first punt, he hit a nice one. It was clean, our operation was good. I thought he did a nice job and our coverage was great. It was great to see guys like Rome Odunze down the field doing the things that we’ve taught. He was right there, and you can tell by the hands that the returner was going to return it and Rome throttled down and made a nice play. But you saw some of the operation time not be as good on the second punt. I think we only punted twice and the operation wasn’t as good from snap to getting rid of it, and even just a little bit of a protection issue and execution, more technique-oriented than anything up front got Jack distracted, and ended up with a net of 20 yards. We just have to be more consistent there, but you see his potential.”

On College Football Playoff expansion

“I think it’s great. You get a chance to get in the playoffs and anything can happen. I love the win-or-go-home games. Just used to that over so many years in my career. That’s when it gets really fun, gets special. You prepare all year long for those moments, rather than just a bowl game that you’re going to where you win so many games and you’re in it. There’s something special to that. I think it’s going to be cool for college football. (It) gives more teams an opportunity and obviously we’re looking forward to being a part of that.”

On film review

“I was pleased with our response to any adversity. I felt like we answered their scores with scores of our own. I thought we did a good job going into the half with momentum and coming out and re-establishing that momentum. Those starts and stops with each half are just so critical.

“As far as the play, I think we need to get the quarterback down a couple more times. I think that cleans up a few things because his scrambling ability led to rushes and passes where he kept the play alive. We’re going to face a quarterback this weekend that moves around. (Portland State quarterback) Dante (Chachere) is a guy that I remember seeing in high school. He’s from Fresno, he played at Clovis West. He’s mobile, can run around, caused problems for San Jose State, so we’ve got to do a good job controlling the quarterback there and making sure he doesn’t get loose. I thought (Kent State) did a nice job of keeping their eyes downfield and made a couple plays once we lost that contain.

“Offensively, just mentioned how we’d love to punch that ball in, be better on the goal line situation at the end, no matter who is in the game. For the most part, I thought we did a good job in our third downs offensively, and that would probably be the other area — getting off the field another time or two on the defensive side.”

On players that stood out on film:

“Loved seeing our receiving corps and many of them getting involved. It’s what we’ve seen in practice and what we feel as far as the direction it’s going with that position group. A guy like Taj Davis getting a touchdown early is the thing we’ve seen. I thought they were all very quarterback-friendly. Rome coming back when Mike scrambled to the left and Mike making a great throw along the sideline, but Rome doing a good job of being able to be in a position where Mike could throw the ball. Those are plays that move the chains. When the initial play breaks down, players make plays. I thought Alphonzo (Tuputala) did a nice job running around, making tackles. Obviously, Asa did a phenomenal job not just being there but making the play and securing the catches, the interceptions. I thought Bralen Trice did some things. Just finish the play, get the quarterback down. That’s one guy from each level of the defense that I thought did a nice job.”

On Sam Huard being able to possibly play Saturday

“We would love to get as many snaps as we can for those guys. The fourth quarter just milks away so fast. There’s 11 minutes left when (Kent State) get(s) the ball and all of a sudden the game is over. No doubt about it, would love to see each of them get more snaps just getting more comfortable, getting that first game of the season under their belt. They both deserve it, they both worked hard. It’s hard because you’re trying to put the game away from a play-calling standpoint but you’re trying to let these guys play football and so sometimes it’s hard to let them show their best ball in the last seven, eight minutes of the game. Definitely love to get those guys more and more snaps as we go through the next few weeks.”