SEATTLE (AP) — Chris Petersen insists the opener for No. 25 Washington against Hawaii on Saturday carries no greater importance than any other season opener in his coaching career.
Except that for the first time as a head coach, Petersen will be leading a team other than Boise State.
"They're all big. Just like I told you guys way back, when I started coaching in front of 300 fans I had the same exact feelings. That doesn't change," Petersen said Monday. "You're competitive, you want to do best for your guys. It doesn't matter what stage you are on, where you're at. My focus never changes on that."
Petersen, one of the biggest names to change programs during the offseason, said the feeling when the Huskies begin their season at Aloha Stadium won't be any different than in his first game as a head coach in 2006, when he led Boise State against Sacramento State.
But now there's an expectation of success that Petersen created while at Boise State, where he went 92-12, won a pair of BCS bowl games and raised the Broncos' national profile. It's a level he's expected to meet at Washington from the start.
"It's going to be interesting just because we haven't been in any real games with these guys to see who is going to respond, who is going to step up, if somebody makes a big play on us, if things don't go right on offense, how do we respond?" Petersen said. "Curious, excited, and ready to go."
Petersen's tenure with the Huskies will begin with a question at quarterback, where sophomore Jeff Lindquist will get his first collegiate start. Lindquist beat out redshirt freshman Troy Williams for the starting nod against Hawaii, but there's uncertainly beyond that. Sophomore Cyler Miles was the presumed starter when Petersen arrived last December, but he was suspended for spring practice and the season opener after his involvement in an off-field incident in February.
The job could be Miles' beginning Sept. 6 against Eastern Washington. But Lindquist will get a chance to make it a competition.
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