Everything Washington's Kalen DeBoer said at his Monday press conference ahead of Cal
On Monday, Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer met with reporters to preview the Huskies’ Week 8 trip to California to battle the Bears as well as recap what he saw from UW in its 49-39 win over Arizona. DeBoer provided several injury updates, talked about the team’s fourth-down decision-making, and much more.
Here’s everything DeBoer said, with video of the press conference below. (DeBoer begins shortly after the 30-minute mark.)
“Awesome win on Saturday. They’re all big, every single win each year and each week is huge for us. Couple things as you watched the film that I was really pleased with: starting fast is something we emphasize. Offense, both halves, scoring touchdowns coming out of the locker room. Big deal for us. And when you think about it, the defense, four of the first five possessions, not allowing any points. Now we’ve just got to sustain that through the second half.
“Finishing strong, got a stop at the end, got a score to make it a 10-point game. I think the piece I’ve brought up a lot over the year is just kind of going into the locker room at halftime and coming out. Being able to put seven points on the board before the half with eight seconds left and coming out and scoring again, their offense not having a chance to score, it was a tie game and all of a sudden they’re down 14. That was a big deal, just that momentum there.
“Devin Culp doing a great job on an onside kick to come out in the third quarter, and the kick was actually placed in a pretty good spot. It was probably a tougher onside recovery than what I even realized until you flip on the film. So hat’s off to Devin because he put himself out there and hung onto the ball.
“A lot of learning opportunities. We’ve gone through success and handling that, and then going through some adversity and understanding how to handle adversity. Now we’re back to where we’ve got to go play a game on the road and get a chance to go into a bye week after that. Having some momentum here with two wins would be huge for us. The bye week can’t come fast enough probably because we’re that close I think to being healthier, getting some guys back. As you guys have seen, once you gain some guys you lose a couple here and there on both sides of the ball.
“Huge week for us. We know Cal and going on the road there in particular is a tough feat for us over the years and historically. Coach (Justin) Wilcox coming off last weekend will have his team fired up and motivated to have a big day. I’m excited about the challenge. I think our guys are excited about the challenge. We played well. Husky Stadium was good to us. I appreciate the fans and the energy again, just the vibe that was in the stadium. I really appreciate you guys coming out.
On if he thought about checking out of the first fourth-down play after Arizona’s defensive shift
“I was real close (to calling timeout), real close. You watch enough film, you still feel like you’ve got the chance. I haven’t even really talked to (O.C. Ryan) Grubb about it. It’s just one where right at the end, right before the ball’s snapped you’re not sure. When you’re not sure, I’ve been doing it long enough, you trust your gut. But I still like what we did. We’ve done that already this year, one other time on a short-yardage situation. Very successful with that same play. There was some movement late. There’s not something that we would have Mike check into on that play, it being on his shoulders. It’s really just the short yardage on fourth down (that’s caused problems). On the fourth downs in all the other situations throughout the course of the year, we’ve actually been really successful. It’s really helped us get started. We’ve had some fourth-down conversions on first drives. I think of UCLA on a fourth-and-6, first drive, we score a touchdown. We just gotta be really on task again with making sure our shot yardage stuff is good, especially in the red zone.”
On how involved DeBoer is with the defense
“I sit in meetings every day. I’m sitting in different rooms. Offense and defense meet at the same time, and I think we can be very efficient offensively — between me and the offensive staff — with watching practice film, recapping. I can usually see things happening on the field that we just need to clean up, make those notes, click through the film. Talk with Coach Grubb and be able to just express ‘Hey, take a look at this,’ or ‘I don’t know if you saw this on the field, but let’s make sure we get this cleaned up.’ What are you seeing on this play versus that look? It allows me on defense to be involved with meetings in the morning as we’re installing the gameplan, and in the afternoon as we’re going through things with coach Morrell and coach Inge and understanding philosophically what we’re trying to accomplish in the big picture and hearing the details in the position rooms as we’re installing it.”
On whether he met with Cal LB Jackson Sirmon to talk before he transferred:
“No. There really wasn’t much of (a conversation). It was really brief and I think his mind was made up. It’s one of those things. I get it. He’s going to go play for his dad and the opportunity there. Obviously, very much missed in this program. Know he gave everything he had. Going to be a player that we’ve got to be ready for this weekend. Does a great job. There’s certain opportunities that are special. As much as we miss him and it was hard to see that happen I also understood. That’s kind of how that all fell into place.”
On balancing heavy rotation with wanting to find consistency on defense
“I think just keeping guys fresh on defense is huge. I think that will continue to happen. Some of it is out of necessity and rotating guys in as they’re coming back (from injury). Asa pretty much just hung in there the whole game. Did a nice job. I could see he’s not quite in playing shape in between timeouts and when they come off the field, but it was big for him to get out there and play a lot. He brings some comfort to us. So there are some guys who are playing a lot of snaps and then there’s a lot of running. The more you can rotate and keep guys fresh on defense I think it keeps them hungry for their opportunity. A lot of defense is getting as many people the ball as you can. When we see a guy that’s fatigued or a loaf that happens we’re going to sub in. We want the guys to be confident that if they tap themselves out, that’s not a bad thing because they trust their teammate and they will know that we will get them back in there to go make the next play as soon as they grab a quick break for a play or two.”
On Jordan Perryman pulling up lame after the touchdown given up
“Everyone’s pushing to try and come back as fast as they can. There’s a need to have guys in and they’re working in. Just nagging injuries that aren’t getting worse or anything by them playing, but Jordan’s a competitive guy. There’s others, too, that are working through on both sides of the ball. … As long as they can go and they’re not making an injury worse we’re putting them out there. We haven’t seen the best of Jordan at all. I just know that.
“I do think he’s getting healthier. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel it once in a while.”
On Jaivion Green being a starter out of necessity or because of his play
“I think it’s both. He’s been in the rotation. He was in there towards the end of the game on Saturday. That last drive, he had some valuable snaps in there and continues to do a good job. He’s just a great kid who comes in and is eager to learn. He’s gonna be a really good football player for us. Probably wasn’t the expectation at the beginning of the season that he’s in the rotation at the level he’s at right now, but he’s hungry. We’re becoming more confident with him each snap and I think that’s part of where we’re at as a team. It isn’t just that position. It’s about learning and growing as a whole program, understanding how to finish games and how to fight back when you’re behind, how to handle success, how to handle failure and adversity. Jaivion’s done a great job through all that of being very steady.”
On Jayvon Parker being at or close to four games
“He’s close. We’ll talk today knowing the health report a little bit of the plan. Aaron Knotts does the report every week on kind of updating everyone on what he’s at. He’s either at three or four.”
On Kuao Peihopa
“He’s still not with us this last week. It’ll be week-to-week with him.”
On the onside kick
“It’s one of those things… There’s a specific technique that we have on an onside kick to make sure that ball is kicked and our guys do that every single kick to where they see it kicked, their eyes are on the ball. I remember earlier in the week Coach (Eric) Schmidt specifically saying, ‘Hey, it’s the midseason, … this is about the time when someone’s going to try to find that gap or that weakness or the person that is caught sleeping.’ I just loved it that Devin was on the spot, made that play, was disciplined enough to follow through with the technique and what we teach. I loved the coaching piece of it too that we have that instilled in our guys to be ready for that Week 7 to start a third quarter. I loved it.”
On Culp dealing with drop issues but still holding onto the kick
“It’s such a simple thing for him. It’s just a matter of staying focused on the ball. If he keeps his eyes on the ball and doesn’t get ahead of himself he’s golden. He’s going to do a great job. It should prove to him he can catch the ball in the toughest situations because he knew he was going to get hit as soon as he grabbed it and he was extended out. Super proud of Devin. It was a big play in the game.”
On how they’ve evaluated Jaxson Kirkland and Troy Fautanu on the left side so far
“I think we’re becoming really confident that it’s a strength for us with Jaxson to be inside. The way he moves people and just his size, it’s hard to push through him. The pocket has been really clean. Troy is doing a good job on the outside. I think it’s a really good combination for us. We’re always monitoring that and I heard the question about Nate (Kalepo). He’s done a great job, and Matteo (Mele). Fortunately, we’ve been able to work them in when we want to, not because we have to with any injuries and stuff. Those guys, that competition, and the ability to rotate in keeps them all fresh, and I love where we’re at with our offensive line and the continued growth there.”
On Mishael Powell and Dominique Hampton playing this week
“Dom is definitely day-to-day. Meesh will start working into drills. The next couple days will be really important for him. I would say we’re hopeful, but I think you can tell just by how I’m explaining it that we’re not certain he’d be ready to go this weekend yet. But Dom would definitely be a day-to-day (case).”
On Julius Irvin not being on the depth chart
“Just working through injuries.”
On Richard Newton
“I think Rich will be practicing with us here by for sure Wednesday.”
On Edefuan Ulofoshio possibly being ready after the bye week
“Yeah, we’re getting itchy with him and I know he is too. This will be another step for him this week with ramping it up. It seems like his smile is getting a little bigger every day knowing that he’s getting closer. There would definitely be some hope that after the bye week we could maybe be seeing him in some capacity.”
On what he would bring to the defense
“I think his mindset is elite. He can just stay focused. Just even the mental reps and how he goes about it, it’s so important to him. Our team knows that. He’s a high-character guy so when he speaks, it’s something he doesn’t just ask of his team, it’s something he does himself. He’s a leader in every way, not just as a player but also as a person. I think the team would be so excited for him that he’d back just because they love him so much, but also we all know that he would help us out as well as a football player.”