Kwiatkowski: Last Year Doesn't Mean Anything

It's Pac-12 time, and Washington Defensive Coordinator says the defense is ready to take on another challenge. But can the Dawgs learn something from their 49-3 whitewashing of Arizona last year as they prepare to take on the Wildcats in the desert this weekend?

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Has playing Elijah Qualls, Vita Vea, and Greg Gaines together worked out the way you hoped? “Yeah. Those guys are big, strong, athletic guys and they’ve played a lot of football. They’ve been playing at a high level. For sure.”

Was putting them out together ever cross your mind last year? “Eventually we thought that would be the case. Early in the year last year Vita (Vea) and Greg (Gaines) were redshirt freshman. Everything was new and they were just getting their feet wet. But as the season went on they both picked it up and that’s where we are today.”

What are you seeing out of the outside linebackers? “For what we’re asking them to do they’ve been awesome. We do a lot with those guys. When they’ve been asked to rush the passer they’ve done a good job for the most part keeping them in the pocket and pressuring. Whether you call it a pressure or a hit on the quarterback. All our production - it’s a team or unit effort. It’s about those four guys or if we’re blitzing guys it’s just not the two edge guys we count on to rush the passer. I think they’ve been doing well.”

On Azeem and Keishawn’s chemistry “It was like that last year. First off, there really good friends, good buddies. Then they feed off each other and motivate each other and keep each other grounded. It’s been awesome the way they’re working together.”

What’s the challenge for them this year? “Keep getting better and not listen to the outside noise. That was the biggest challenge and so far so good.”

What do they need to get better at? “Just everything. Their drops, their ability to change direction, their tackling. I could go on and on. There’s always something that we can get better at. There’s not one thing that stood out, that they have to get better at. It’s a compilation of everything.”

On differences between Anu Solomon and Brandon Dawkins “They’re similar guys. (Brandon) Dawkins might be a little faster, but they’re similar guys as far as what they do in that offense. They both will scramble. They both will sit in there and spit the ball out quick. Both can get it down the field. The only difference is one has more experience than the other. That’s about it.”

On scouting Brandon Dawkins “It’s based off of what he’s done at Arizona. We’re not going to look at high school film. We’ve got what we’ve got. We study that and at the end of the day we have to defend their formations, their plays, and then obviously the quarterback is a big part of that.”

Do you have to prepare for more zone read with Brandon Dawkins? “That’s their offense. Zone read. He’s their second leading rusher. So yeah, he’s got our attention for sure.”

On J.J. Taylor “I think he’s awesome. Watching that guy, the way he can just get his foot in the ground and get vertical, it’s like wow. I remember watching the guy - I don’t recruit that area - but I remember watching the guy out of high school and the guy was electric at Centennial. It’s a big time challenge. He’s quick and they get him out in space. It’s not going to be on one guy; we’ve got to run to the ball and we have to tackle with numbers.”

Is there anything you can get from last year’s tape and apply it to this game? “Last year’s game was last year. The one thing we can get from that is Arizona’s going to be ready to roll at home and we better be ready to roll because they’re going to bring it. That’s the mindset we need to take going into it.”

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