VIDEO: Washington Defensive Line Coach Jeff Choate - Arizona Wildcats

Washington Defensive Line Coach Jeff Choate spoke to the media Tuesday about nose tackle Elijah Qualls and his maturation process, as well as preparing for Arizona’s rushing attack and the probability of seeing two Wildcat quarterbacks Saturday night.

On if he feels a connection with Elijah Qualls with how far he has come along “Yeah. I think he, I think Joe (Mathis), I think there are a lot of guys that in their experience growing up haven’t had a lot of reason to trust people. It takes some time to develop that. They have to know that when I say something that I’m going to follow through on it and that I’m honest with him and direct with him. It’s not like I have to sugar coat it; it’s okay for me to be very direct with him as long as they know it’s coming with a place of honesty. I think we’ve developed that relationship where they know I’m going to do what I tell them I’m going to do, whether they like it or not sometimes. I’m really proud of both of those guys. I think those guys have both grown a lot as men.”

 

On if it took Elijah Qualls some time to reciprocate “I think it’s kind of one of those deals where it’s like ‘okay, here we go. I’m holding up my end of the bargain.’ But I think it’s about I’m the adult here and my job is to help him understand this is where you’re letting yourself down and here’s where you need to grow and I think we get that as a mature coaching staff. I’ll tell you what, being a father of a teenage boy helps too. I’m probably way better at it now than I would have been 10 years ago. I get it maybe a little bit more because I deal with it here and at home.”

 

On how he has seen Elijah Qualls mature “I just think his openness. He was very much a loner when he first got here, even when I first got here. He didn’t do a lot with his teammates outside of football. I think that speaks to that trust issue. Now you see him really kind of hanging around, being around the locker room, and wanting to be a part of what’s going on with the team. I know he feels more comfortable here and I think that helps everything. Nobody’s walking on eggshells because Elijah (Qualls) is having a bad day. It’s like okay, I’m okay to get after him just like I am anybody else.”

 

On how it seems that Elijah Qualls now wants to be in the middle of everything “Yeah. I think he’s enjoying his experience right now.”

 

On how it seems the Husky defense faces great running back after great running back “Well that’s that PAC-12. It’s like when I coached in the SEC or when I was in the PAC-12 the last time, it’s the same thing; everyone in this league has really talented skill players. I think that’s one of the hallmarks of the PAC-12. You’ve got good quarterback play, explosive, dynamic receiver, and, this year especially, excellent running backs. It’s a different challenge because their style is different, but we’ve got to have the same result. We have to be able to bottle it, for the d-line anyway, looking at our area of responsibility. We have to make sure they’re not getting downhill cuts between the tackles and we do a good job of getting off blocks and trying to add another guys into the edge when we have an opportunity to escape. When he gets his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and goes, that’s where he’s getting those yards. He’s explosive on that.”

 

On preparing for two quarterbacks “Their offense isn’t dramatically different. I think maybe the pace of play is a little faster with (Jerrard) Randall and they obviously have the quarterback runs, more of them designed for him. Even though the scheme isn’t different; you aren’t seeing different formations, you’re just seeing a little bit different style. They’re a little more focused on quarterback runs and keeping the ball in his hands, whereas with (Anu) Solomon they’re spreading it out a little bit and let him throw the ball a little bit more. It is different in that regard. We just have to have a heightened sense of awareness when Randall is in the game.”


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