VIDEO: Washington Defensive Line Coach Jeff Choate - Bye Week

Washington Defensive Line Coach Jeff Choate talked Wednesday to the media about the difficulty preparing for all the different styles of offenses in the Pac-12, as well as missed tackles and what it’s like to watch the younger players develop and grow under his watch as the Huskies have a bye week this coming weekend in anticipation of their game a week from Thursday at USC.

What’s the bye week like for the DL? - “For us it’s interesting because it can be really redundant. We work on our eyes, our hands, our hips, our feet over and over and over again - but getting a chance to break down…we’re not watching an opponent film as much as, here’s this one-man drive drill and I’m talking about taking ground with your first step and it’s got to be in more of a bang position where we’re lateral…just those little details that help those guys lock in. I think you can see some growth in terms of those guys getting back to not being sloppy, not just going through the motions, not just playing ball but focusing on their technique. That’s one of the things I love about the bye week is you really get a chance to go back and really coach these guys again on the techniques.”

Have a good feel after four games of the personality and the rotation? - “There’s some guys I think have emerged the last couple of weeks, some younger guys I feel like have earned an opportunity to play a little bit more. It’s always a work in progress because each week is a different style - especially in a league like the Pac-12. The Cal team is very different from the USC team, and then an Oregon team…so how certain guys match up - whether it’s scheme or the ability to match up the physical matchup. I’m really pleased with the way that these guys have progressed and worked. That’s the one thing, they came in here with the right approach all the way back in the summer in terms of - there no Danny, there’s no Hau…let’s go play ball and let’s keep a chip on our shoulder and they take a lot of pride in winning double teams and doing dirty work. Their production will come.”

On Cory Littleton emerging the last couple weeks - “As far as just being a football player, he’s one of our best football players. I think he has been for a while. He’s quiet and unassuming and he’s not about pounding his chest and doing those kind of things. He’s very workmanlike and he’s a great player. For some people he may be under the radar because he hasn’t gotten that publicity but I think we all knew what he could do and that was kind of the expectation with him.”

Are Cory and Travis Feeney interchangeable? - “He’s actually played to the field most of the time, so Travis and Psalm have been the BUCK and he’s been playing to the field, but depending on what front we’re playing it does look very similar so they’re almost playing mirror images of one another in a lot of situations.”

On going back to the rugby tackling to reinforce it this week? - “Yeah, that was almost my whole special teams meeting this morning was really going back and looking at…our tackling was a major issue for us in the Cal game. Really going back and stripping it down and let’s talk about our eyes, let’s talk about what we’re trying to get out of our wrap and our hip extension and showing the rugby clips and talking about those specific techniques that we need to get back to. We’ve got to be disciplined as coaches and we can’t let that go. It can’t just be a bye week thing; just stay on it every Sunday, every Tuesday and continue to develop those skills. Every year is a different year. A year ago we spent all this time talking about it and we graduated a bunch of guys, so we have new guys and we can’t just get away from it. We have to continuously reinforce those techniques and those fundamentals.”

Ballpark number for missed tackles against Cal? - “We had 30 is what we ended up with, which is a high number for us and were really disappointed in that. A lot of it had to do really with where we were targeting. We were targeting too high and that’s a huge part of where the rugby concept is lowering our target level and taking the engine of the ball carrier away, which is his legs, and doing a better job of wrapping up.”

Any drills that help reinforce it? - “For the wrap part of it we do tackle. We’re really trying to get in as deep as we can, we put a ballcarrier there to simulate a ballcarrier with a hand shield. They have to shoulder punch and wrap and drive their legs. We do the gator tackle where we wrap and roll on the bags. There’s a lot of different things that you do. We try to look at each week, where were our missed tackles and what were the issues with these missed tackles? How can we replicate those in drill work? Sometimes you’re almost inventing a drill that tries to simulate what happened in a game. But I think that’s really important. You’re not just doing drills because they are drills. We had two-foot takeoffs in these situations; how do we reinforce not getting that? We lost leverage on the ballcarrier in this situation; how do we simulate that so we can maintain our leverage and own our leverage a little bit better. Those are technical things, but we definitely look at specific tackles that we missed and try to replicate those in drills.”


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