VIDEO: Washington Linebackers Coach Bob Gregory - Stanford Cardinal

Washington Linebackers Coach Bob Gregory spoke to the media Tuesday about the play of his group against Oregon, the difference when Azeem Victor is out of the game, and on true freshman Ben Burr-Kirven.

On how the game changes from when Azeem Victor is in to when he’s not “I think what Azeem (Victor) brings is a big, physical presence in there. When he’s in there I think everybody feels him on our side of the ball and on their side of the ball as well.”

 

On if he saw a drop off in physicality in the defense when Azeem Victor was out “I think Scotty (Lawyer) and Ben Burr-Kirven, a true freshman, they just play a little bit differently. I thought Ben (Burr-Kirven) played at a very high level. He had a several tackles and a quarterback sack. He’s a little bit different where he might avoid a blocker at times where Azeem will take on a blocker. As long as they make the play they’re both right; they’re two different kind of players.”

 

On Ben Burr-Kirven and if the coaching staff saw any similarities between him and Keishawn Bierria when they recruited him “I didn’t compare Ben (Burr-Kirven) to Keishawn (Bierria) when I was watching them on tape. I just knew he was a really good football player. He played on both sides of the football in high school. Very active, very physical, constantly making plays, athletic, very good instincts inside the box, and we knew that he could play somewhere for us as a linebacker whether it was a WIL like Keishawn or a MIK like Azeem (Victor). Good football player.”

 

On if he expected Ben Burr-Kirven to play this much this year “Well, you never know. I think sometimes you try to have an educated guess going into it, but it’s not surprising. He’s a very smart kid; he’s very instinctual, reliable, and dependable. I think he’s playing at a great level as a freshman. Hopefully he’ll continue to improve.”

 

On how hard it is to evaluate a player from a smaller school “That’s always a question, no doubt. We’re always conscious of the competition that we’re looking at. It’s a little bit of an educated guess, but if a guy is making plays he’s making plays. Then you just have to project a little bit. We’ve all seen good players at big schools not pan out and vise versa. Ben (Burr-Kirven) has certainly panned out and we’re excited about him.”

 

On what he sees from Stanford’s physical offense “I think that’s who they are. I think they totally identify with that. That’s their plan. I think that’s their blue print. They do a very good job of it. At the same, time they’re going to get in one-back and they’re going to throw the ball. (Kevin) Hogan is a seasoned veteran throwing the ball. He knows what’s going on. Certainly power football is their identity, but they can spread you out and throw the ball up and down the field as well.”

 

On Christian McCaffrey and if he reminds him of anybody they’ve faced so far “Well, different. Every week we see a great back. Where Royce Freeman last week was a powerful back, I think (Christian) McCaffrey is a slashing back. I don’t think he gets the credit for the speed that he has. They try to get him the ball every way that they can. He’s a returner as well. He can pose some serious problems for you.”

 

On if he’s surprised by how many snaps the base defense starters are getting or if he expected rotation guys to get more snaps “Probably a little more. I think sometimes when there are tighter games you have a tendency to play your first unit a little more, and that’s kind of what we’ve been in, some tight games. I think Ben (Burr-Kirven) deserves a chance to play a little bit more because he showed something to us on Saturday that he can do some things. I think in the long run it always helps when you can play more guys just because it’s so many reps on their body.”

 

On if going to their hometown adds an extra element to players’ preparation “Going home for a guy like Ben (Burr-Kirven) or Elijah (Qualls), who you were talking to, that’s always important to them. They want to do well in front of their family and friends.”


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