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Chris Petersen Media Day Interview Part 6

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Recruiting, the talent Chris Petersen came into at UW, and academics are topics of discussion.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Have you found recruiting to be different going through it the first time at Washington where it's been different schools and players? Instead of going down and getting the fourth or fifth best player? Now you've got to compete against UCLA, SC, Stanford, those schools. How does that make you guys as a staff work harder and change things? Seems like a big difference.

Yeah, I think the process for the most part is the same. We have a pretty specific process in terms of how we look at kids and vet them and all those things. But you're right. It is harder.

You’re always trying to compete to get to the next level. Certainly the same thing here. Trying to get the best players to come up there. So it's a fine balance. One, they have an interest in us and to get them, and is he good enough and all those type of things. Then there is a guy down here that may not be recruited as heavily. The one thing we've never cared about is whoever -- well, I shouldn't say that. But I'll go back and process this. We really never cared.

Now you're saying, is he good enough to play at this level that we're now going to?

Yeah, so the best process for me to say when I said is we didn't care who offered them. And they don't really have a strong interest in us. They have to like you too. Do we really have a good shot at getting this guy? I don't want to recruit a guy for eight months in third place. That's a lot of wasted time and money. So tell us early. Are you sincerely interested? Then we'll charge hard.

What do you think about that roster when you walked in? It's been a long time since you inherited a team. Did you find real quick relationships with those guys? Did they feel like they knew you right away or felt calm by your presence? What was it like?

Well, that's a hard time for everybody. It's a shocking time. Everybody's in shock. I mean, that is the bottom line. Everybody loves the drama of changing jobs and who is taking this job? Everybody loves that outside of you, respecting your situation. So you go over there and take a job. And it's not like shock that you did it, but it's hard. Those kids arelooking at you like what just happened? The guys our leader looking at the Washington guys. I know half those guys, and they're in shock. So that's a hard time. So you just try to calm the waters. But my thing is I'm always trying to be really, really honest with the players. I just try to be honest. Tell them always exactly what I think. Try to do the right thing.

Do you think it's a crash course in building trust?

Yeah, education is important. That's one of the reasons I came to Washington. We're not just going to give lip service. Lot of guys may have come there and they love football, and it's a good place, you're going to get a good education too. But as coaches, we're going to emphasize the heck out of the university. That is plan A. Everybody thinks the football part of things is plan A. No, plan A is getting a degree, getting a vision for your life, graduate and figure out how to do your life correctly.

We try to flip that up. At the end of the day, they might not hear it. We might be a pain in their side about this academic thing, but I know their GPAs and I know who is in class. I check class myself. All those things are important because I've always felt like our most squared away students are going to be our best players. So academics are huge to me. They may not like it early on and there is some resistance, but at the end of the day, they'll appreciate it.

Can you tell me about Jesse’s injury?

Yeah, so he's doing well. He's running full speed. He's out there working with the guys. In another week, I'm anxious to see when we start that he's full go and looks great.

But he’ll be 100% by training camp or by the season?

Yeah, yes to both. The trainers have said that he's going to be ready to roll from the start. If he's not a hundred, hundred percent by training camp, then by the season.

With the academic commitment, do you maybe have guys who didn’t recognize their full potential because they were too busy with class?

We haven't had thatmany guys like that. Are we talking about a class conflict? A class schedule?

I will tell you this. In the recruiting process, and doing all the homework with the guys, one of the things, and we tell those guys, football on a scale of 1 to 10 isn't a 12, doesn't come here. You're coming to the wrong place. You have to have a tremendous passion. It's just too hard. We worked too hard. It's year round. Do not come here. You're coming to the wrong place.

So hopefully we head that off. Now sometimes kids interests change, and you deal with that. If a kid doesn't want to go through the grind, then he doesn't want to go through the grind.