Spending time on the islands during football season is not Washington coach Chris Petersen’s idea of a vacation.
He learned the difficulty of taking a team to Hawaii when he was the head man at Boise State and a trip to Oahu to face the Rainbow Warriors was a part of conference play.
He’s a fan of Hawaii, but not necessarily playing there.
“Get off that plane and get that nice ocean air and it feels like vacation. So it’s very easy to lose that mental edge and not be in tune to how it’s going to be and how it’s going to feel,” Petersen said.
“Then to play the game, little bit of time change, certainly the weather is different. Usually a little more humidity, sometimes some rain, always some sort of wind. After the game you have to get on that plane and get back here about 8 in the morning, get ready for the next week, so there’s nothing easy about this trip at all.”
Petersen made the trip with Boise State three times and went 2-1. So his debut at Washington will come in familiar territory when the No. 25 Huskies face Hawaii tonight.
Hawaii is looking for any kind of positive buzz after last season’s 1-11 stumble, a lack of interest around the program and concerns that budget shortfalls could eventually spell an end to the Warriors program.
Hawaii is expecting a crowd of less than 30,000 for the opener.
Here are things to watch as Washington starts the Petersen era:
QB QUESTION: Quarterback is the most uncertain position as Petersen begins his Washington tenure.
Sophomore Jeff Lindquist will get the nod as the starter against the Warriors, beating out redshirt freshman Troy Williams. But neither could be under center a week from now as presumptive starter Cyler Miles returns from a one-game suspension.
Lindquist could make the decision on who takes over tougher depending on how he plays today.
NEW BISHOP: Bishop Sankey left a major void in Washington’s backfield after the best season running the ball in school history. Dwayne Washington will get the first chance, but Lavon Coleman, Jesse Callier and Deontae Cooper will all get carries.
PASS HAPPY: Coach Norm Chow’s teams are known for their passing proficiency and the Warriors will be facing a young UW secondary. Cornerback Marcus Peters has the look of a future NFL star, but is joined in the secondary by two freshmen and a sophomore. The most anticipated debut will be that of safety Budda Baker, the gem of Petersen’s first UW recruiting class.