Jake Browning will complete a memorable season on January 1, 2019 when he guides the University of Washington against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl Game.
In four years as a Huskie, Browning played in 53 games, completed 923 of 1,429 passes for 11,983 yards and 94 touchdowns.
He sat down on Thursday, December 27, for a Q&A with the media.
Here’s what he had to say:
In your prep for the game, how have you all studied Ohio State? What’s been the process – it’s not like a normal game, two or three days and break out tape. What have you done to try to get ready for them? I think watch more games all the way through without having to break it up. So been able to watch more games all the way through without having to watch cut-ups or different breakdowns, get the idea of the flow of the game a little more and finally able to spread it out a little more.
But they played a whole season. So being able to watch all of that was – a regular week you’ve got to pick and choose which games you want to watch. So hopefully that’s an advantage.
What were the curiosities for Ohio State defensively throughout the year, one of their guys sat here, Dre’Mont, said 95 percent of the time they’ve been where they needed to be when they needed to be there and 5 percent of the time lost, and those 5 percent have really hurt them this year. Yeah.
Is that what you – the big play susceptibility? Take away two games, they’re feeling pretty good on defense. The Maryland game, the Purdue game, I think, were probably the two that would stand out. But as far as not being where they needed to be, lining up, I think they ask their corners to do a lot pressing all the time, a lot of man coverage. You’re playing high risk/high reward, a lot of negative plays, forced a lot of negative plays, but also give us some big plays here and there.
How does that affect you all build a game because of that style, that sort of high risk/high reward, does it change the way you build a game plan? I think it’s probably the way they play. We played teams like that a little bit throughout the year. But I think we’re more just – you’ve got to be prepared for man coverage in certain situations and aggressive quarters in others.
(Indiscernible)? Wazzu. I think Alex Grinch was at Wazzu and was co-DC there. You can definitely tell there’s some influence. I think Ohio State’s been playing like that for a while. Back when used to play Rutgers, that was their old D coordinator, very similar.
When you view this game from a big-view perspective, so much talk it’s Urban Meyer’s last game, so much talk about whether Ohio State should have been in the playoff, but there’s really not a lot of difference. Conference champions, conference champions, do you all feel in some ways like quietly going into the game? Yeah, I think there’s couple plays that separate us from being – us having the same record as Ohio State, and there’s a couple plays that separate them from having the same record as us.
There’s close games on both sides, they were able to come away with a couple more. But I haven’t really heard that much about Urban Meyer’s last game until Ohio State media. So Washington was kind of everybody’s just excited to go down to the Rose Bowl.
But as far as it being his last game, doesn’t really change anything for us. I don’t think they’re going to come out and just run completely different stuff or anything like that.
But I think we’ve always been a kind of under-the-radar team and kind of feel comfortable there.
It’s kind of an emotional thing because there’s opportunity for those guys to blow themselves out. So excited to go play that game. Seems like you all are in a position where you can calmly approach the game and be prepared to play. We’re always ready for a four-quarter fight. I don’t think anybody is really a rah-rah guy, but we’ll be ready to go.
(Indiscernible)? Yeah. Definitely feels kind of weird that after this I’m done here at Washington. But I think after playing four years you kind of feel like, okay, my time has come a little bit and you’re kind of ready to move on to the next thing. But definitely excited for this game.
What about offensively, where have you all found some success this year? Seems like from the outsiders’ view, it’s balance, you’re able to throw it, very accomplished running back. It seems like when you want to establish pace, you can do it. You average about 400 a game. Where do you think you give teams props? I think we’re pretty balanced. Do a lot of different things on balance. We have a first-year offensive coordinator. Moved within that balance of what’s our identity going to be. But I think we’re able to do both. Obviously Myles does a really good job and our ‘O’ line does a really good job on the run game. When we’re ready to throw, we’re able to.
You said 17 years since Washington went to a Rose Bowl. It’s been a while? Something like that.
What’s it like in Seattle, what’s it like throughout the state, the energy, the enthusiasm to get to this specific (indiscernible)? Yeah, I think it’s just it’s a big game because of the history behind it before the playoff, this is where the Pac-12 Championship, Pac-10 Champions would go all the time. I think it’s where a lot of people grew up watching it and recognized the name of it maybe even more so than an Orange Bowl or Fiesta Bowl and stuff like that.
So I think it’s something special. And there’s something about the Rose Bowl being Pac-12 team. Got a big name to it.
In terms of coaches who are pretty good at their job, Urban Meyer and Chris Petersen as good as there is. As a matter of fact, they are, in terms of active coaches, winning percentages first and second. We’ve seen Urban Meyer at the biggest level. What is it about Coach Petersen that allows him to translate that success at Washington in your mind that explains those numbers that are so significant? I think, well, first of all, you’re only as good as the coaches you hire. So I think been able to hire some really good coaches throughout his time at Washington and at Boise, and now I think what he does, he’s consistent on the little things, just little details about day-to-day practice and stuff like that. Just continuously, continually remind you, and even though it’s the 50th time I’ve heard it, doesn’t really care, he’s going to emphasize the points he thinks are important to winning.
The strength to The Ohio State has traditionally been the defensive line. I’m curious, as a quarterback, when a team has a good D line, as opposed to a strong linebacker or secondary, what does it do to you going against a D line like that? Mixing up protections, moving the pocket a little bit, have some different stuff planned for that. As far as specific players, I don’t really watch. I’m not really thinking about the D line. I’m getting ready for the secondary and linebackers and different coverages. And so you have to ask some of the O line guys specifically.
Do you feel like you guys are being overlooked much? I don’t really care.
How have you seen Washington, the freshmen? Higher expectations. My freshman year we were expected to win four games, and then the next year we were in the College Football Playoffs. So I think just every single year just kind of setting a new standard, and now we’re expected to be the Pac-12 Champions every single year. And I think our fans expect that and people kind of expect that.
How about yourself, how about you guys? Taking a lot more reps. I think this year when we played Auburn, everybody was talking about it’s going to be a hard game. Hardest game I ever played in was against Boise State my first year – my first game playing, I hadn’t been on the sideline of a college football game my whole life, so you kind of know what to expect a little more, you’ve seen a lot more, gone against a lot of different defenses.
Being able to go against an Ohio State, it’s like these guys are similar to these guys, we’ve had success doing this against that kind of defense.
But I think first time going against Ohio State, first time in the Rose Bowl; definitely going to be some newness.
What is it about that Boise State game? I didn’t have a redshirt year. Like I said, I’d never been even on the sideline during a game, never even been the person doing the signals or anything like that. I think there’s something to walking into some unfamiliar situation that you have no idea what to expect.
Has your career gone the way you thought it would go? I don’t really have that much expectations. Kind of went in with the expectation I was going to work really hard and kind of do the best I can every single day and see where the chips fall. And I think I’ve been happy with it.
Definitely some games we wish we could have maybe had a play or two different. But I think there’s some peace of mind I’ve been able to work really hard and put as much effort and energy into this as I can.
And so you kind of do that. You kind of look at we’ll see where the chips fall, and that’s kind of where we’re at.
You thrive on being an overlooked (indiscernible) being able to prove everybody wrong. How does that mentality play out when you are so good and have so much success, win Pac-12 and get the Rose Bowl, how do you keep that chip when you’re the underdog? I ignore everything when they say we’re the best team, worst team. Especially as quarterbacks, everybody loves you, hates you, and there’s nothing in between. Depends whether you won or not.
As far as the crazy ups and downs, I just ignore that and stick to my routine and just stay disciplined on it.
There’s been a trend for a lot of years skipping bowl games (indiscernible)? Me?
Yeah. No. Yeah. No.
Like can you see why – I can see why. But I don’t think anybody’s skipping the Rose Bowl. First and foremost, one of the biggest games you can play in. I grew up watching it. I think everybody on our team has watched it. I don’t think anybody’s planning on skipping it.
What are your favorite memories watching the Rose Bowl? Nothing in particular. I knew who was playing in it and watched it. I didn’t really have a team that I really, really rooted for growing up. But I remember SC losing against Texas. I think everybody remembers that. That was probably one of the first college games I really paid attention to and watched and knew exactly what was going on.
You talked about as a quarterback you have to dismiss criticism or praise. Was that something you had to earn, or did that come naturally to you? I mean, it’s something that my high school coach kind of made me do. So it was kind of a habit I already had. I think you have to limit the avenues people can reach you. If you’re all over social media and promoting yourself and all that, when you don’t do well, people will be all over you. You can say it doesn’t affect you, and you’d be lying, because I’m a pretty reasonable person and people say some unreasonable stuff, and then you want to rip into this guy that’s some random person you don’t even know. Takes energy away from getting ready for the next game.
So it’s something you’ve got to stay disciplined on. I think you have to limit the avenues people can reach you.
Are you on social media, Twitter and all that? I’m not on Twitter. I think it’s the worst one.
You did it and got off of it? I did it. Haven’t been on it in forever.
Few years ago, the people, greatest thing ever, then the last – When we lost to Alabama. That was – it’s what did you do this past game. I’m not somebody that’s going to launch a ball a quarter of a mile or anything like that.
I think a lot of average people look at me, say, what’s make this guy so special? It’s hard work. I’ve prided myself on doing things that other people aren’t willing to do preparation-wise. Like I said, it’s putting in a lot of hours, working hard to get here.
Can you give me an example of what you do above and beyond others? There’s nothing special. Just watching more film and preparing harder, getting the sleep and hydration and all that stuff. Taking care of my body. And then just the amount of film. I don’t think there’s anything really special that I do that is anything crazy. It’s just the amount I’ll spend all day before I – until I feel like I’m ready to even go out to a practice.
Even though you’ve got all the publicity couple years ago, do you feel you’re a better quarterback than when you went in? I do. You put two years of work into something, you hope it makes you better.
How do you think you’re better? I do a better job not forcing the issue on certain things. Letting a play die. Taking a sack. For me I’ll kind of scramble around sometimes, and on the pass I’ll kind of take some bad sacks just trying to make too much happen. Sometimes you’ve got to cut your losses and take the four-yard sack instead of the 15-yard sack.
Are you excited to see how Sacramento State does? Yes, Coach Taylor. All my high school coaches are there. I think they’ll be really good. And they’re kind of getting the band together. So everybody in Sacramento is pretty happy.
Is there any buzz about Sac State football at all growing up there? No, not really. I think one thing is I know a ton of Sacramento football players grew up playing Sacramento high school football and having to go to Weber State and stuff like that. I think a big emphasis for Coach Taylor and Richardson and Fresques, Coach Cole is the DB guy, I think they’ll be recruiting Sacramento really hard. There’s a lot of guys that fly under the radar there.
I get the sense you don’t care about – you’re not the hot young kid anymore; am I right about that? Yeah, I think people are getting a little Jake-lash, you play four years and all you hear about is me, Washington football. People are ready for the next thing. That sucks for them because I’m still here.
Jake-lash, is that a term? No, I just made that up.
Because Ohio State and J.T. Barrett? – Yeah, he’s going to – yep.
You’re the kind of the Washington version of that a little bit? I’m not super familiar with the situation, but I could imagine it’s pretty similar.