Chemistry. It’s plain to see if a team has it or they don’t. College athleticism is typically commended for embodying this critical characteristic for a team’s success and at the UW, head coach Christ Petersen is dedicated to bringing it back. With what seems like an ever-present controversy swirling around the NCAA, it’s not surprising that the UW is committed to building a solid foundation. In the past, sports reporters and fans have chided coaches for waving their flag of “brotherhood” as a recruitment tactic alone.
But with his winning history at Boise State, Petersen is committed to restoring the type of team chemistry equal to that had in roaring years of Don James. The coaches’ plans began the first day of spring practice, the goal being attention to detail and coach/player connection. Offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith embodied the hands-on approach by crawling across the field on his stomach to demonstrate a play; a level of commitment the players had rarely seen in the past. Junior cornerback Marcus Peters explains the shifting tactics when he says, “We want to start building a bond to where we can trust each other a whole lot more.” In the same interview, Petersen explained, “Our system’s been introduced in everything we do… I think that’s all been established. Now we’ve got to get better at that. We’ve got to tighten up the details on everything we do. That’s the difference (in) everything — the details. We’re not detailed enough, so that’s where we’ve got to go moving forward.” Though the results won’t be evident until this fall, players and fans are hoping the changes will result in a success similar to what Petersen facilitated at Boise State. During Petersen’s eight seasons there as head coach, the team held a record of 92-12, five conference titles and two Fiesta Bowls. Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski explains, “We’ve still got a ways to go, but we’re definitely on an upward trend… Guys are doing a good job of figuring out how to go about doing that. They’re awesome as far as coming out to practice with good energy and wanting to get better. It is a process, and it takes time, but I think we’re on track.” When speaking about Petersen’s unique approach to coaching, Seattle Seahawks safety and Boise State player Jeron Johnson says, “The biggest thing for UW players is to believe him. He’s not going to mislead you.”