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Pac-12 football preview: Chris Petersen takes center stage in Seattle
He makes no bones about it: Chris Petersen doesn't love the spotlight. He doesn't love talking to media about whether he'll run a trick play, or who his quarterback will be.
In late July, a relatively chipper Petersen joked that outside of trips to Paramount Studios for conference media days, he's actually more anonymous on the streets of Seattle than he was in Boise, and he's been thankful for that.
Enjoy it while it lasts, Chris.
Washington managed to replace Steve Sarkisian with one of the most coveted nations in the country — a renowned tactician who went 92-12 as head coach of the Broncos, and 5-2 in bowl games.
And now the nation will want to know: Does what works in Boise, also work in the Pac-12?
Petersen has said that he plans to continue the hurry-up no-huddle from last year at Boise State.
Most of his assistant coaches are former Broncos coaches.
And yes, he will still employ the occasional trick play.
In every facet, he plans to do things his way, he said at media days, from weight-lifting to classroom standards to Twitter policy — or at least a happy medium between his no-Twitter policy and the Huskies' comparatively laissez faire status quo. Asked whether he sought Sarkisian's advice on personnel, he said, "No, not one time. … Everybody has their own opinion, and everybody gets biased, so I just don't ask the question."
It's not a lack of respect, or a knock on Sarkisian. It's just that Chris Petersen is 92-12. Everybody else … isn't.
2013 IN REVIEW • 9-4, 5-4 Pac-12
RETURNING STARTERS • 12 total (7 offense, 5 defense)
TOP RETURNING PLAYER • UCLA's Myles Jack made it popular, and now junior Shaq Thompson is likely to see time both hammering the ball carrier and BEING the ball carrier. One of the Pac-12's best linebackers, Thompson rushed for 1,135 yards and 15 touchdowns on 120 carries as a high school senior (he was also quarterback and punter), and during spring and fall camp he's spent time on both sidelines.
BIGGEST QUESTION MARK • They still don't have a quarterback. Fall camp has seen three-way battle between Jeff Lindquist, Troy Williams and Cyler Miles, with the latter seeming the heavy favorite. But Miles won't start at Hawaii due to his involvement in two assaults after the Super Bowl, opening the door for one of his challengers to make his case.
SCHEDULE OUTLOOK • As Pac-12 schedules go, this isn't so bad. Home for toughies against No. 11 Stanford, No. 19 Arizona State and No. 7 UCLA. Lone roadblock is No. 3 Oregon, and the rest of the road schedule — Hawaii, Cal, Colorado, Arizona and Washington State — is eminently winnable. Other out-of-conference games should be cakewalks: Eastern Washington, Illinois and Georgia State.
— Matthew Piper