On Monday, Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer met with members of the media to break down the Huskies’ start to the season and preview Saturday’s massive clash with Michigan State.

The 11th-ranked Spartans come to Seattle for a 4:30 p.m. PT kick on ABC. Washington (2-0) has looked strong, but it’ll need to be ready for the best opponent it has faced yet this season. UW hasn’t beaten a ranked opponent at home since 2001. DeBoer will look to snap do exactly that on Saturday.

Here’s everything DeBoer said about the game, with select quotes and the full press conference video below:

Opening statement

“We’ve got that routine down as a team, that rhythm, with doing a little workout on Sunday and having our meetings, putting the (Portland State) game to bed. And then today there’s time off for the guys. It’s their day off, and now they kind of know what Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday looks like. With Kent State, we had a few extra practices built in for that game plan. Last week was a normal week. I think the guys know what is expected of them. We’re looking forward to a great opponent coming into Husky Stadium this weekend. We love the challenge that’s in front of us and we’re excited about the opportunity, ready to attack the week.”

On the approach to the game

“The next game is the most important one. It’s the most important one on the season. That’s the way it is every single week and that’s the way you have to approach it. The word of the week last week was standard. There’s a standard that you have to have — whether it’s the process of your weekly preparation, how you rehab, how you hydrate yourself, your work ethic, who you are as a person, all of that. That standard, you set that.

“Now that we know what that standard is, we always have to make sure we’re above the standard. The guys will be excited, so there should be great energy, there’s no doubt about it. Yesterday was a great day for us. You could feel the energy and it comes because you got another win under your belt, you’re playing well. The guys are enjoying the process and what we’re going through right now. But, I also know we’ve got a great challenge and we have to keep improving for this weekend. You really don’t want to make it too big going into the week but, obviously, everybody understands we’ve got a top-15 team coming into our place on Saturday.”

On Michigan State’s style

“Physical, tough, always playing with great defense. You get used to playing in weather. I lived in Michigan for three years there, and at Eastern Michigan it was the same thing. You’re playing in weather and in November it’s going to be cold. You’ve got to build your program around that style that can endure those games and the weather that comes with it. That’s the style you see on film right now with them. It’s physical, trying to establish the run and protecting their quarterback, and a defense that’s flying around and doing the same thing up front. I know their defensive coordinator pretty well, faced him many times over the years, probably seven, eight times I’m guessing, or close to it. They’ll be ready to play, and they’ll come and attack you. That physicality will show up on both sides of the ball in everything they do.”

On Michigan State’s Payton Thorne

“He’s slinging it around, doing a great job executing. You can see he’s responsible for making checks on the field for them with the run game (and) pass game. It seems like he’s got a really good feel and command of the offense for sure.”

On Michael Penix Jr.’s 2019 performance against MSU

“It’s a different coaching staff that we’ll be facing. But that’s one of those games where Mike was just on. I think it was 20 consecutive completions he had in that game, if I remember right. He made some big throws and it came down to the wire, and I think we scored and then they ended up kicking a field goal with five seconds to go, one of the last plays of the game. I think we tried our razzle-dazzle play at the end and gave up a ball going the other way.

“It said a lot about Mike. Man, we were very confident about what we could be with him at quarterback. That same thing is going to be the case here. He’s not going to be in awe. He’s played in many of these games. You’re comforted, having one of your team leaders — and your quarterback in particular — being a guy that has played in big games and understands the color of jersey that’s across from him. It’s nothing new to him.”

On UW’s biggest strengths

“Consistency. We’re consistent. It doesn’t mean we’re consistent at the level we want to be at yet, but I just know when we come out to practice every day what we’re going to get. I know there’s a lot of care and want-to and that every day we’re going to keep getting better.

“When it comes to the play on the field, I think we’ve consistently… I heard Coach Grubb talk about the word ‘efficient’ offensively.

“Defensively, there’s been times where we’ve given up some yards and had our backs to the wall, but a sudden change at the end of the first half and we dig in, against Kent State, there were some times when they were in our red zone and, again, we were forcing some field goals. That happened again on Saturday. I think there’s the mindset — and people are probably sick of me saying it, but I really feel our team is starting to believe in it — that no matter what has happened and where we’re at, that moment’s the most important moment. This is going to be the most important game, until we get to the next one.

“They just really hone in and are able to focus and not get overwhelmed with any situations and be their best and trust the guy next to them to do their job. That’s a lot, but I think that’s the direction we’re headed and I think some of the things that have happened have helped us believe in that philosophy and believe in that mindset.”

On potentially beating a ranked opponent at home

“It would be huge, no question. With where we’re at in the process of coming back and building, I like where we’re at after two games. But this is a different animal. We’re talking about a top-ranked team. So it would mean a lot to us, there’s no doubt about it.”

On the running back rotation

“It’s getting more competitive and more competitive every week. We need those guys. I think they’ve all had their moments and they’ve all done a really nice job. I think there’s definitely some things they need to improve on. But, you know, their involvement in special teams I think is going to be critical as we go through the next few weeks. That’s what’s nice. We’re getting healthier at that position, getting more guys back.”

On the team having more energy given the opponent

“I hope they have that energy. The week of practice is always going to lead into what that mindset looks like on Saturday. If you really prepare well, you’re going to be confident. You talk about the energy and being over-excited, I don’t know too many times if I’ve seen that happen. I think it’s good to have these two games to kind of get those first-game jitters out of pretty much most of the guys and get them behind us.

“I think that’s our coaches’ job and my job all week long is to just get them in the right mindset. I hope we’re fired up. I mean, every game there should be a little bit of a tickle in your belly, right? You want to be a little nervous. That means it means something, it’s important. I know that’s going to be the case this weekend for some guys. But you just want to make sure we embrace the moment. Be excited about the great opportunity. Control what you can control. Give everything you got and live with the results. That’s the way we approach it every day.”

On attendance through two games

“First and foremost, we’ve got to do our part as a team to make it exciting, to make it fun to come out on Saturdays and watch us play. We’re working hard to do that.

“The other thing is, just time to show more about who our guys are and realize that, man, these are some special not just players but people that you want to root for and are fun to watch. They have a fun time playing and we’re building into a team. There’s not a lot of me-first guys anymore on this football team. It would be hard to find them. The other part of this is, this stadium, when it’s rockin’, again I’ve been on the wrong sideline and know what that’s like, just trying to get a snap off and how loud it can be and how much of a problem that is when you’re an opposing offense in this stadium trying to execute, everything is just so much harder when it’s loud. Quarterback trying to change a protection, trying to even just get the signals or the calls in from the sideline, everything is just a lot harder. We need Husky Nation out here in a big way on Saturday.

“We’ve been trying to prove that we’re going to be fun to watch and fun to be there at the stadium for to support. We appreciate everyone that’s been to our games, it’s been a fun environment, but I know there’s still a lot more that we can have. We have the motto, ‘No limits,’ this season for our team. I guess the limit would be the capacity, right? But I would just challenge the fanbase, Husky Nation, let’s not have any limits to what this could be this season. Let’s not sit and wait around to see what could happen. Let’s put the pedal down and let’s go get this.”