Jimmy Lake Likes His Group's Versatility

Speaking with Washington Defensive Backs Coach Jimmy Lake Tuesday, it's clear he is happy with the progress made from his group through three games. And after true freshman Taylor Rapp got his first career start Saturday versus Portland State, Lake is liking his group's versatility even more.

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On Taylor Rapp and his first career start “Yeah. It really started back in the spring. Taylor (Rapp) was an early enrollee. He came in in January, worked his tail off learning the play book. We were all completely surprised how fast he picked up the playbook in spring football. I started moving him around different positions and he picked that up. I was like ‘hey, today why don’t you go do this?’ And he’d pick that up. He had a really good training camp. He’s a physical, tough football player, a sure tackler - one of the more sure tacklers we have on our team. It showed up on special teams those first couple of games. We really like the matchup versus the game plan versus Portland State of where he played. I think you’ll see that moving forward with a lot of guys in the back end. From game plan to game plan you’ll see different bodies out there. Taylor Rapp is doing an unbelievable job for us and I’m excited to watch him  continue to grow.”

What is that challenge with Arizona? “They have a lot of speed. They’re going to deploy three, four wide receivers and then they have two fast running backs, two fast quarterbacks. So whether they’re throwing passes downfield or they’re getting you spread out, run the ball in space, we have to make sure we’re doing a good job of trusting our leverage, making sure we’re wrapping up on our tackles. This is an explosive offense that we definitely have to prepare for.”

On Arizona’s offensive line “They’re big, physical guys. Coach Michalczek does a really good job coaching those guys up. I think they play in the manner of his demeanor. He’s a tough, hard-nosed coach. They play hard and we don’t expect anything less. They’re going to give us their all.:”

Does Taylor Rapp getting a chance to start give you a chance to play other players in a position you would like to see them? “It just gives us flexibility. Whether it’s a Taylor Rapp or a Budda Baker or a Brandon Beaver, we just have a lot of flexibility. Kevin King, I mean a lot of guys, they’ve been in the system now for close to three years. We’re able to move guys and they understand what they’re job is, what their responsibilities are. It’s also going to help us down the road when we get some injuries here and their, which are going to happen. There is no way everyone is going to stay healthy; we’re going to get injured. When that happens we won’t blink. We’ll just move a guy here and move a guy here and they’ve done it before.”

Does PAC-12 play feel different? “I mean, it just feels like week four to us. That’s how I feel. I think the guys re excited. They’re playing, obviously, a PAC-12 opponent and we’re going on the road. But really, it’s week four. These guys have been excited to play week one, week two, week three, and now it’s week four. This is a different opponent, they run different plays, and now we’re getting prepared for those plays. We practiced just as hard this Tuesday as we have the last three Tuesdays. I just think these guys are excited to play week four.”

What’s the difficulty with playing a QB without a lot of film on them? “You see the talent right away. We looked at him (Brandon Dawkins) when he was coming out of high school, so we know what type of quarterback he is. He presents a lot of challenges, has an extremely strong arm. And if a pass play is called and we cover them up, we know there’s a good chance he could run. And when he gets out in the open field he is dangerous. He’s already put up over 230 yards rushing in a game and a half, scored five touchdowns rushing. We have a big challenge ahead of us if he plays, or, obviously, (Anu) Solomon who has been a big time player in this conference for a few years now. They really have a two headed monster there. Whichever guy plays we have to be ready to go and we’ll be ready for both challenges.”

Does playing a QB like Alex Kuresa help prepare for a guy like Brandon Dawkins? “Yeah. There’s a little similarities just in terms of making sure we’re plastering the wide receivers when a play does breakdown. And also our d-line making sure that we try to keep the quarterback contained when he is scrambling around. Also the quarterback run game. Number 13 (Brandon Dawkins) and number 12 (Anu Solomon) for Arizona, they can keep the ball just in the quarterback run game as well. We saw a little bit of that with Rutgers and also we saw that with Portland State. There’s a lot of similarities, especially in college football these days. They always have the quarterback as a potential run threat. We’ll be ready for that.”

Do you feel like the number ones got the reps they needed to get ready for PAC-12 play? “No question. They’ll be ready.”

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