VIDEO: Washington Running Backs Coach Keith Bhonapha - Arizona Wildcats

Dawgman.com's Kim Grinolds spoke to Washington Running Backs Coach Keith Bhonapha Wednesday as the Huskies continue to prepare for their Saturday Night Halloween 'Blackout' game versus Arizona. Bhonapha talked about Myles Gaskin, Dwayne Washington and how the weather might affect the run game against the Arizona Wildcats.

On if he expected this much Myles Gaskin this early “You know, it’s pretty interesting when you go back and you think about when you were recruiting a guy, especially with the way he’s playing now. The one thing I will say, I watched him on film and was like ‘okay, this kid is pretty good.’ Then I had a chance to watch him downtown play against Mariner and I’m like ‘okay, this guy’s really good.’ Now that he’s here and he’s kind of moving I’m seeing a lot of the same things he was doing on the football field on film, when I went to go watch him live, and now we’re fortunate enough to have him in purple and gold and watch it live here.”

On what separates Myles Gaskin from other backs “I think there’s a mix of really everything. He has great work ethic. He does have, when I say the ‘it’ factor, he has some moxie to him. I think the only game I saw where he was like ‘okay, I’ve got to go,’ was the Boise State game because it was his first game playing. Since then he’s kind of calmed down. I think the thing that makes him special as a running back is his vision and his patience and really using the line to set up his blocks.”

 

On his reaction when he saw Myles Gaskin run over Stanford’s safety on film “That’s what it’s all about. If you don’t get a chance to make a guy miss in space, you might as well be physical. It’s exciting for him and really exciting for the offense as a group to see a young guy kind of taking the next step week after week. It was good to see a guy really enforcing what being a running back and being part of this running back group is all about.”

 

On if Myles Gaskin hides behind his blockers “That’s what he’s doing. That goes back to his patience, really taking his time, and letting the o-line discover what leverage they’re going to use He’s really just cutting off of that.”

 

On if Myles Gaskin young enough to ‘know what he doesn’t know’ “That’s a good question. The kid is a pretty smart kid. I think he’s pretty dialed in. I think the one thing that I kind of do like about the kid if you do try to coach him up on something in the run game or pass protection wise or something like that he takes it and he tries to work on it. He’s probably still a little naive to everything that’s going on. With that being said, he is a very coachable kid, he understands what we’re doing offensively, and he understands the responsibility he has of being ready to go every week.”

 

On if he just does whatever coach says “I hate to put him in that mold where he doesn’t know so he doesn’t ask any questions. I think he knows and he asks questions. He’s just a really coachable kid.”

 

On what it will take to get Dwayne Washington going a little more “That’s a good question. I think Dwayne (Washington) has been very consistent for the most part when it comes to how he approaches practice and his knowledge of what we’re doing in the offense. All that stuff is there and he still comes every day ready to work. I think it’s just one of those things where it doesn’t seem like he’s getting the big runs and things like that that he’s used to. With that being said, when it comes to some of the other stuff he’s doing offensively, whether it be pass protection, catching the ball out of the back field, and doing some of those things, he is contributing; he’s just no having some of the big runs we’re used we got a chance to see last here.”

 

On how he coaches some of the older guys when a freshman comes in and takes the majority of the carries “I think you have to just continue to be proactive and continue to talk to those guys about ‘you guys are doing good. This is where we’re at.’ I think if there are ever opportunities where those guys can surely get into the game and contribute somewhere in the offense we try to put those into place. Definitely the running back room is a hard room because you only have one football to hand off, which is true. At the same time, you have to build a culture within your group to where guys can understand why a guy is playing and why he’s continuing to play.”

 

On if weather impacts his running backs “I haven’t thought about the dark and the weather or anything like that. The one thing you always think about as a running back coach, especially with the weather starts getting iffy, is just holding on to the football. Ball security is always going to be the number one thing you think about. Does it affect some of the plays and stuff we’re going to run or how we feel about the run game? No. You know these fields are now. You don’t really slip too much, even if it is raining. I think we’ll be okay.”

 

On how a field is when it’s wet “It’s fine. The cleats and stuff now and the way the field is set up, if you’re going to slip when it’s wet you would have slipped for the most part when it was dry; it’s all about having a good base underneath you. Do you have to be a little bit more cautious because of the weather? Yes, but not a ton.”

 

On if there is a preference between grass and turf “Me personally, if we had a grass stadium I would be all about that. I like grass. I think it’s a little bit better on the guys and it reminds you of old school football. That’s the only reason I think I like it, because it reminds me of old school football. This stuff is nice. I think it’s good for upkeep; it’s easy for upkeep. You can do different cool things on it. It’s not bad.”


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