SEATTLE -- I fully expected the response I got from University of Washington head coach Chris Petersen, but had to ask the question anyway.
“It’s early, the first poll is out, is this team better prepare to handle the high accolades and praise that will be coming to them?” I asked him after the Huskies' fourth training camp practice.
“I don’t know. I’m not really worried about that because we’ve banned any social media. They’re not allowed to watch TV, or look at their phones,” Petersen quipped. “Ok, they might see a few things.”
Then, Petersen gave me the serious answer we’ve come to expect from the head man who’s stayed on message since the day he arrived at Montlake.
“I know this. I think our guys are wise enough they could care less about pre-season polls. You want to talk about polls, let’s talk about it at the end of the year, I’m all ears, they’re all ears! That doesn’t mean anything. There’s not a team in the country that cares about what our ranking is coming in, ” stated Petersen.
So I followed up with, “So they’re well prepared to handle that then?”
“I would think they would be. I don’t know if you are, but I think our guys are,” answered Petersen with a wry smile.
Four weeks before UDub’s season opener at Rutgers, The USA Today /Amway Coaches poll has Washington No. 7 in the nation. It’s the highest pre-season ranking for the Huskies in 20 years. There’s plenty of evidence to support Washington as worthy of a top 10 slot heading into 2017.
The Dawgs won the Pac-12, gave Alabama a decent game in the Peach Bowl, and bring back a talented roster led by the conference offensive MVP, quarterback Jake Browning. While the Huskies lost mercurial receiver/return man John Ross III to the NFL, they have plenty of weapons, including the potent tandem of Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman running behind a large and experienced line.
Less then a week into camp coach Petersen is pleased with what he’s seen from a junior- and senior-laden football team, focused on the process that could lead to another spectacular season.
“They’re working hard. I feel good about that. It’s a detailed-oriented game, so they’re working hard, they care, they’re trying to get it right. We continue to pile things on them about the system and the program. They’ve been great.”
I promise, no more questions about pre-season polls!
UW fans can watch practice starting at 2:50 this Sunday, August at Husky Stadium. After the session they’re invited to the field for selfies and autographs during Picture Day.
Listen for my Husky Fall Camp updates at 3:25, 4:25 and 5:25 after afternoon on the radio home of the Huskies, KOMO news am 1000/ fm 97-7.