SEATTLE — Hurt feelings surfaced in Boise this week after Washington coach Chris Petersen voted “yes” in an ESPN poll asking Pac-12 coaches whether they’d be in favor of scheduling nonconference games exclusively within the realm of the “Power Five” conferences.
The Power Five consists of the Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC. Absent from that group is the Mountain West, which includes Boise State, which is where Petersen coached for eight seasons before taking the UW job in December.
The thought in Boise, then, was that by voting “yes” in that ESPN poll, Petersen was also implicitly stating that he doesn’t think schools like Washington should play against schools like Boise State.
But after Saturday’s practice at UW, Petersen said he doesn’t feel that way at all, and that an Idaho Statesman column about this very subject “misrepresented” his feelings.
“I think I was misrepresented in that article over there in Boise,” Petersen said. “I wouldn’t do anything … first of all, I don’t even know when I answered that question. I had a lot of questions coming at me. I didn’t really know exactly what it meant.
“I think we’re trying to get some parity in terms of scheduling, in terms of league games that we play, that we’re on the same footing there. But I think of Boise State as … I don’t know if they’re in a quote “power conference,” but they’re a power team. I’m always a Boise State fan and I wouldn’t do anything to keep those guys out of the mix.”
That’s what some fear will happen, though, in light of the NCAA board of governors’ vote last week that approved more autonomy for the Power Five, granting those conferences and schools more power to write their own rules.
And while it’s not likely that earth-shattering change will result from those conferences being given more power — moderate changes to player compensation and scholarship values are more likely — smaller schools such as Boise State could wind up at even more of a recruiting disadvantage.
But Petersen said he’d have no problem scheduling those teams, regardless of how he voted in the ESPN poll.
“I’ve been in that conference forever and I’ve known the players and the coaches forever, so there’s no question that we’d want to play those guys and I know they want to play us,” Petersen said. “There’s good players and that’s great competition.”
And the autonomy vote as a whole?
“I think if we can do more for our student-athletes, that is good,” Petersen said. “And if that’s going to allow us to give them more food, maybe some more money, I think that’s really good for those guys.”
Closed, then open
The Huskies ventured off-campus to Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell on Friday for their first completely closed practice of camp.
On Saturday, they were back at Husky Stadium, where they held their first open-to-the-public practice. About 500-600 fans attended.
Junior receiver Jaydon Mickens said he thought the Huskies got what they wanted from their off-campus excursion.
“I liked it a lot,” he said. “Some younger guys left a couple things that they normally have and are comfortable with here. That shows you you’ve got to pack your bags the right way. That gives us an extra boost when we go to Arizona or Cal or something like that, to understand what you need. They did a pretty good job of it. Some of them still need a little help.”
Senior tight end Michael Hartvigson watched Saturday’s practice with his right arm in a sling. Sophomore receiver John Ross was also sidelined with his left foot in a walking boot. Petersen doesn’t typically comment on injuries that aren’t considered long-term. … Three true freshmen continue to work with the second-team defense — cornerback Naijiel Hale, safety Budda Baker and defensive lineman Will Dissly. … For the final drill of Saturday’s practice, the quarterbacks shed their no-contact jerseys and were eligible to be tackled. Sophomore Cyler Miles scored on a pair of touchdown runs, and Troy Williams and Jeff Lindquist each ran with a couple of keepers that ended short of the goal line. “Those drills are usually few and far between, but I think most of these guys haven’t played at all, the quarterbacks, at the college level. One has played just a little bit. I think you can fall into a real sense of false security if you never make them live,” Petersen said.