Kwiatkowski Stressing Basics For Oregon Prep

Washington Defensive Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski has been part of a staff that has gone into Autzen Stadium and beaten Oregon, so he knows what it takes. And Tuesday he talked about just that, and stressed how much the basic tenants always apply.

How would you characterize playing in Eugene? “All road games are difficult from the standpoint that you’re not at home, you have to travel, guys are missing class; but everybody does it and the teams at can handle it the best are the ones that tend to be the most successful. We have to go down there and do our deal, take care of business, and execute.”

What’s the challenge of matching personnel with Oregon? “You’re not going to sub as much. We’re going to sub by series and when there’s a break in action we’ll sub. This is not like Stanford, so it’s not like we’re going to have always different personnel groups and trying to match size. They do what they do. We’ll match the personnel, but most of the time it will just be the same personnel.”

On Dakota Prukop? “Similar guy. He’s mobile, athletic, accurate. That’s their offense and that’s what they like out of their quarterbacks. He’s doing a nice job of putting a lot of points on the board and doing a great job of running the offense.”

Are there any similarities you can take from last year’s game? “Schematically, yeah. But last year’s game was last year and we can learn from the stuff we didn’t do. We didn’t execute like we want to execute. But the game of football, you can draw up whatever x’s and o’s you want; it comes down to guys getting off blocks, leveraging the ball, and tackling - we’re talking about defense. Offensively it’s blocking guys, breaking tackles, and it’s not much more difficult than that. We have to do a better job of leveraging the ball, whether it’s the quarterback or running back, whoever has the ball, and tackle.”

Is Oregon like Arizona in the sense it doesn’t matter who the quarterback is because of the system? “They do what they do and do it well. The quarterback is a big key to that, so the better the quarterback is, the better that offense goes. The offense is putting up a lot of points, so that has not been an issue this season.”

Did you expect to have to blitz more through five games? “No. It’s not our style. We have blitzes, but at the end of the day, if we don’t have to blitz we don’t want to blitz. If we could sit back and rush three guys and get pressure, we’ll do that too. The key is being multiple and being able to have different answers, different looks, whether it’s a front or coverage. It’s being able to have that balance of all that stuff. If you just sit in one coverage and one front you’re going to get exposed. If you do too much you’re going to get exposed because the guys are confused. It’s that balancing act of trying to have enough where you’re multiple and your guys are able to execute at a high level.”

How much easier are other players jobs with a line that can get pressure without having to blitz? “The coverage, when we get good coverage, it gets the guys rushing the passer extra time. And when we get really good pass rush it’s less time for the quarterback to go to his second, third reads. They go hand-in-hand; that’s part of team defense. Most of the time we’re getting sacks because the coverage is tight and good and the quarterback is holding onto it a little bit longer.”

On Sidney Jones’ coverage “I don’t know how to answer that. He’s a good player and he prepares really well. He’s gone out and played well. I don’t know if it’s a combination of his play and teams not attacking him. I haven’t really studied it that much to give you a clear answer on that, but I know the guy prepares his tail off and is ready to play every game. That’s what you want out of all your guys.”

What did the Arizona game teach you about going on the road? “Every game we have to expect a fourth quarter fight and you have to keep competing and if it goes down to the last play, that’s the awesome part of it. Sure, we would have liked to not have given up two ling quarterback runs, but at the end of the day we were able to find a way to get the win and the guys kept fighting and competing and stuck together. That’s the adversity we were looking for and we responded and were able to get  ‘W.’”

Is there a common thread as to why Oregon has fallen short a few times this year? “I don’t know. You tell me. They’re averaging 40-something points a game. They’re not scoring enough points to get a win I guess. That’s for the pundits to talk about. All I know is they move the ball, they’re leading the conference in rushing, they’re throwing for over 250 yards a game, and they’re putting up 40 -plus points. We have our hands full this week for sure.” 

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