VIDEO: UW DL Coach Jeff Choate on Boise State

Dawgman.com spoke Monday with Washington Defensive Line Coach Jeff Choate, who talked about Friday's season opener at Boise State. Choate also talked about the depth of the defensive line rotation, playing the ‘hot hand’, as well as returning to Boise State, a place he coached under Chris Petersen.

On the management of the rotation of his d-line “Yeah I think there’s a couple of things. I think number one I’m really curious to see what their ceiling is in terms of the number of plays that they can play at a high level. I think that’s one thing you don’t necessarily know because game situations the adrenaline gets flowing. Is it going to be a four-play set? Is it going to be a seven-play set? How am I going to adjust it throughout the course of the game? I’ve really got to pay attention to matchups and who is playing well, because going into this thing we’re going to have kind of a three-deep that’s going to play. As the game progresses it’s really important I think for me as a coach to lock in ‘okay, that’s a good matchup for us. I need to get more reps for that guy.’ So that’s something that’s a little bit of an unknown going into this. So really those two things. How are we going to matchup as the game progresses and how many plays can these guys play at a high level?”

 

On if he has ever coached a group with this kind of turnover from one year to the next “I don’t know that I have, where you really take basically the entire front seven and you’re playing with a new group of guys. The one thing I think we do have in our advantage is that we do have a couple of guys with some experience. I think Azeem Victor and Keishawn (Bierria) at linebacker. Obviously Travis (Feeney) and Cory (Littleton) on the edges, those guys are kind of the glue right now. Tani (Tupou) inside and Elijah (Qualls) who got a lot of quality reps behind Danny (Shelton) last year. So those are the guys who you kind of know a little bit more about. So it’s those guys that we’re kind of piecing in that haven’t played a lot of downs for us where it’s all eyes are going to be on them early in the game and see how they respond.”

 

On who is going to emerge as the leader “I think it’s a combination of guys. I think Elijaw (Qualls) has a high football IQ, a lot like Danny (Shelton) did, and gives us a lot in terms of identifying sets and things like that and he’s a quick, powerful guy. Greg Gaines is going to be right in there behind him, he has a similar skill set to what Elijah has. A lot of the leadership things I think come from Tani (Tupou) because of his experience and him being around this thing. I think it’s going to be a combination of guys that fill that role.”

 

On how he is preparing for Boise’s offense that has a reputation for being tricky “Well I think, Bryan (Harsin) may want that perception, but I know when we were there, we wanted to be known as a physical run offense. I think it starts there. I think they’re committed to the run game and that’s what opens up all those other options for them. So, yeah, they have these bells and whistles, but you better stop the power, you better stop inside zone, they’re going to launch on play action pass. They’re not going to beat you with five trick plays. They’re going to beat you by old school football, and they’re going to get their momentum off of those trick plays explosive sometimes. That’s on their game plan. Our game plan is we better stop the run and we better keep our eyes where they need to be in the pass game. I think it will be an interesting matchup. There’s a lot of familiarity obviously between the two programs so that creates a great story from the outside, but, for us, we just need to go play a game right now.”

 

On the atmosphere at Boise State “It’s a big time college football environment. I think that’s what our guys want to play in. They’re going to have good juice. It’s going to an unbelievable environment. It’s a huge game for their program and the community of Boise. There will be a lot of folks there and it will be loud and you’ll feel the energy. There won’t need to be any false energy for sure, if anything we’ll have to make sure we play within ourselves, especially with so many young guys going out there. It’s a great environment.”

 

On if he believes Coach Petersen wants to get this game done with and behind him “I think he’s a lot like us. He’s a pretty thoughtful guy. You have those thoughts when you look at it on the schedule nine months ago. At this point, we’re very, very focused on us. It’s like anything else; every opponent is a nameless faceless opponent. It doesn’t matter. A lot of those guys are our best friends. I still want to beat my best friend in ‘horse’ if we’re in the back yard playing basketball. That doesn’t change. We’re focused on us and not worrying about what’s going on down there, the hype around the game. I think Chris has done an awesome job of sending that message to our guys.”

 

On if he feels pride when Boise State succeeds knowing he helped build the program “Yeah. I think anytime you’re in a situation where you have the opportunity to help recruit kids and lay a foundation for a culture and see it succeed, especially when you have a lot of close friends on the staff, you want to see those guys have success. You want to see the kids you brought into that culture have the opportunity to do the things that they came there to do. I think that’s a unique thing about this profession. You’re in it long enough, sooner or later you’re going to play against kids you recruited and other guys that you worked with. I’ve had the opportunity to do that a number of times in my career. I wish the best for those guys on every day except Friday night.”

 

On his plan for the d-line rotation “It’s one of those things where we’re going into this game with a plan to get everybody reps based on series in the game. Passed the first three series it’s going to be a lot of ‘okay, who’s got the better matchups? Who’s got the hot hand? Who do I feel like is in the flow of the game?’ Some of that is going to be just some gut feelings on my part as the game progresses.”

 

On guys who can play multiple positions on the d-line “I think there are a couple of guys that are swing guys for us. Most of our guys are locked into one position right now. I think Tani (Tupou) is a guy who can swing between nose and tackle. I think Will (Dissly) is a guy who can play end or tackle. I think Vita Vea is a guy that we can swing between nose and tackle. Everybody else is really locked into one spot or another. We’ve got to have a couple of swing guys as injuries occur and matchups that are favorable for us. Other than we’ll try to lock our guys in.”.


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