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Petersen trying to temper expectations as Washington begins football practice

Washington fullback Myles Gaskin, left, is getting consideration as a long shot contender for the Heisman Trophy. (Ron Jenkins / Associated Press)
Washington fullback Myles Gaskin, left, is getting consideration as a long shot contender for the Heisman Trophy. (Ron Jenkins / Associated Press)
By Tim Booth Associated Press

SEATTLE – Chris Petersen seems to understand why there are so many expectations that have engulfed Washington.

He just doesn’t agree with them. Or believe they are even remotely warranted.

“We were 7-6, played no football games and now we’re ready to win the Super Bowl? I mean, it’s like really? So go ahead. There’s nothing else to talk about I guess. So that’s what it is,” Petersen said Sunday. “That’s what we tell our guys. If you want to sit there and pay attention to social media … then you’re just heading down the wrong path. That’s not just what this is about. We have to go play games. Let’s talk after Game 6.”

Petersen will begin his third fall camp with Washington on Monday and as much as he tries to shield his team from the expectations, they are surrounding the program in a way that’s been absent for most of the past decade. The Huskies were ranked No. 18 in the preseason coaches poll. They were picked to finish second in the Pac-12 North Division in the preseason poll. Even running back Myles Gaskin is being listed as a long shot candidate for Heisman Trophy consideration.

This is what Petersen was tasked with creating when he left Boise State to take over at Washington. But he’s doing his best to temper that outlook at least until the season begins.

“I really don’t think the expectations are one-bit different inside our locker room than they have been since I’ve been here,” Petersen said. “I just don’t. We expect to win every game we play. So the outside noise that now might have changed their expectations that doesn’t change anything.”

The biggest news for Washington on the eve of fall camp was the official addition of former Oklahoma wide receiver K.J. Young. The junior transfer from Riverside Community College in California caught 19 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown for the Sooners during the 2014 season as a redshirt freshman. He was dismissed from the Sooners program in the spring of 2015 for an undisclosed violation of team rules and spent last fall at Riverside.

While Young is two seasons removed from playing for the Sooners, he immediately adds depth at one of the few positions where the Huskies are thin even with the return of speedster John Ross.

“To get another player in there that has played at this level and played a lot of football the last few years is a really good thing,” Petersen said.

Petersen said the Huskies began having conversations regarding Young during the spring and after doing extensive checks – including conversations with Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops – decided to move forward with offering Young a roster spot. Petersen had recruited and offered Young a scholarship when he was the coach at Boise State.

“We’ve talked to everybody that we can get our hands on to talk to,” Petersen said. “We’re pretty thorough in terms of whoever we’re going to recruit. So that process was no different for him than any other of the guys we have brought in here.”

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