VIDEO: Washington defensive lineman Taniela Tupou - Bye Week

Washington Defensive Tackle Tani Tupou spoke to the media Wednesday about how quickly they were able to get over their 30-24 loss to Cal, the defensive rotations and how everyone has found their niche within the defensive line room, as well as work on tackling and working against the 'Big Hit' culture spawned by things like ESPN's Sports Center.

On how he feels the hockey shifts style has worked “I love it. I think it’s good, especially because we have a young defensive line. We have a lot of people, even myself, that haven’t really played a lot, so I think it really just for everyone to go out there and do their thing. It’s going to take everybody, so I think that’s been the biggest thing. We’re all not those big guys like last year, so we each possess our own little strengths that we bring to the table.”

 

On any guys that have surprised him so far “I think the whole unit in general. Damion Turpin, Joe Mathis, Will Dissly, Shane Bowman, Jaylen Johnson, Vita Vea, Greg Gaines, just everybody. Everybody has their own little role within our unit and I think that’s what makes our unit so tight and so tight knit. Even some of the players that don’t play, like my best friend and cousin Jarett Finau, his work goes unnoticed. He’s our eyes on the sideline. We come off the field and he’s telling us what Jared Goff is doing back their in the pocket, what the center is doing, or what we should be keying on. It takes everybody.”

 

On if he feels the rotation is starting to take shape “Yeah, definitely. I think everyone is really coming around to accepting their different roles within the d-line. It’s good. It’s great because everybody can got out there and just play fast. I love it because if I’m down or something like that I have confidence in the guys behind me and the guy that’s behind him.”

 

On how long it took and how difficult it was for the unit to get past Cal “We still live by the 24-hour rule. It’s still kind of frustrating. We came in Sunday and broke down the film and went right back out to practice that Sunday and did our thing and from there on we just shook it off and said ‘hey, you just have to move on to the next one, learn from our mistakes, and just go forward.’”

 

On if film study is as bad as it seems from the outside “I think us as players, our hardest critic is ourselves so we go home after the game, especially after a loss, and you think you yourself ‘I should have done this, should have done that,’ and you focus on maybe two or three plays that you messed up on, but then you go back in Sunday and you realize ‘okay, it wasn’t as bad as anticipated.’ I think that was something for this past weekend. We thought it was going to be really, really bad. There were some bad things in there, but I also think there was a lot of good in there that we can learn from too.”

 

On the biggest thing the group can improve on from in this bye week before heading into USC “Tackling, definitely tackling. There were a lot of missed tackles and just block recognition and escapes, getting off blocks faster and just being able to read where that ball is cutting back on, especially with these backs in the PAC-12. Those guys are fast.”

 

On how much fatigue has to do with tackling issues “I think it’s a small issue that adds more. I was telling people ‘we just need to do the little things. Just wrapping, squeezing, and eventually just trying to get the guy down, just doing everything within your power.’ That’s what we noticed. We would make the hit, but we wouldn’t follow through with our legs or we wouldn’t squeeze like we’ve been taught to. We just went back to the drawing board and make sure that we’ve been wrapping now.”

 

On if wanting to make a big hit gets in the way of tackling “I could definitely see that. We have a lot of big hitters on our team, guys that love to make contact, so I think that might be part of it.”


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