ATLANTA- On Friday morning, Washington coach Chris Petersen nominated Alabama coach Nick Saban to be the commissioner of college football. With a showdown against the Crimson Tide a little over 24 hours away Petersen might not mind if the position were created before the day ended.
When Petersen’s laughter (along with that of the rest of the room) died away, Saban suggested better candidates, such as Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, could be found elsewhere, but didn’t disagree that the position could accomplish things the Football Coaches Association can’t.
“I think if we had some people, whether it’s a committee of people or a commissioner, who could sort of drive the wheel a little bit in terms of what some of the problems facing our game are in the future,” Saban said. “Whether it’s recruiting calendar, whether it’s guys — number of guys that go out for the draft, whether it’s the number of people that transfer.”
The coaches were able to laugh again later when the subject of Petersen’s trick plays came up.
“Well, you guys have ruined half our game plan talking about trick plays so much that now that’s a thing, so those are out,” Petersen said.
Perhaps the greatest trick up Petersen’s sleeve has been his reputation for running them. Alabama has to prepare to some extent for every single trick play Petersen has ever run while the Huskies only have to focus on perfecting the two or three (if any) that are included in the game plan for Saturday’s Peach Bowl.
“They fit their offense. They utilize the players in their offense that are capable of making these kind of plays, and they do a really good job with executing those plays,” Saban said earlier in the week. “The way I look at it is rather than thinking that they’re trick plays, they’re little unusual plays that create a tremendous amount of attention to detail and discipline for defensive players.”
Petersen’s squad might need all the help it can get to even the playing field a little with an Alabama team that seems to have so many other advantages in it’s corner such as proximity to the fanbase and a familiarity with the playoff system that comes from claiming the No. 1 seed every year since the format changed over three years ago.
“I’m sure tomorrow’s going to be probably a lot more red than purple in that stadium, and it is what it is. It’s not quite a home game for anybody, but it’s probably more of an away game for us,” he said. “…We’re way more worried about Alabama, the team, than the crowd.”
The road hasn’t kept the Huskies from continuing to score. Washington scored a season-high 70 points in Eugene, Oregon against the Ducks. The Huskies found the endzone less in road trips to Arizona (35 points) and then No. 17 Utah (31), but Washington prevailed both times and recently handed Colorado a 41-10 defeat in a neutral site match up in the Pac-12 Title Game.
It was a home date with Southern Cal that gave Washington’s record its lone blemish, a 26-13 Trojans’ victory. The Crimson Tide rolled past the Trojans with a 52-6 victory in the season opener, but a shared data point isn’t going to make Alabama overconfident.
“I think their team [USC], after the first three or four games, really sort of started to gel and made significant improvement and was a completely different team than we played in the beginning of the season,” Saban said. “So we played the same team, but I’m not sure we played a common opponent.”
Both coaches said they enjoyed their week in Atlanta, Georgia but they know the experiences their teams had this week will be framed by the result of the game on New Year’s Eve.
“We’ve had good preparation,” Saban said. “We had lots of practice, more than we have for most teams. And, you know, you just want your team to go out there and play best. And we want them to focus on the things that they need to do to be able to do that against a very good opponent.”
His opponent kept it brief.
“I think at this point, there’s not a ton of talking,” Petersen said. “We’ve talked to these guys for a long time and now it’s just they know the plan and got to go play.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports