Bhonapha never panicked as run game gelled

Keith Bhonapha was never worried. Talking to reporters Wednesday as Washington continued to prepare for Saturday's game with Oregon State, Bhonapha focused on coaching the fundamentals - holding on to the ball, pass protection and yards after contact - and he knew the UW running backs would get the job done.

On the progression of the running backs “I think one of the things that we kind of prided ourselves on starting fall camp was just being able to be guys that are able to get yards after contact, doing a great job of hiding onto the ball, and really running behind our pads. I think it’s been a progression. I know everybody - it’s funny because a couple times I talked early in the season, everybody was in a panic about the run game. It’s just giving these guys a chance to kind of get into their groove is fun.”

On Myles Gaskin chipping away before busting a big run “I think he’s one of those guys that is constantly trying to find space and things like that. When space is given to him he’s going to take advantage of it. Now to say if he has a reputation for being that type of guy, that’s a reputation that some body else has given him. I don’t really think of him like that. I think he’s a guy that is very productive in a 10-yard box and that’s really what we ask him to do. Anything past that is a bonus.”

What’s the dynamic with two productive running backs? “Both of those guys are competitors and I think they’re just excited to be out there and get the opportunities to go make plays on the football field. I do think in between the both of them they do want to be one of the guys that’s contributing to the wins of the team. Now to say they have a competition where they’re trying to beat each other out, I don’t know. I’m just glad we’re able to be productive and those guys are really helping each other game day to kind of make sure each guy takes the next step as we move into the season.”

On Oregon State’s defense “Those guys are physical guys. They’re big bodied guys that are hard to move. I thin those guys play with a lot of effort. I think it’s going to be a challenge for us making sure that we’re able to hold up. For us I always think pass protection first and then obviously being able to find some space to make some runs out there.”

On Jomon Dotson “We have a good group and we always call our room the stable. It’s always good when you’re able to get three guys going, especially when you’re in the mid part of the season. As you know, it’s a long football season and the more game reps guys have, the more productive, the more experienced, the more savvy they’re going to have when it comes for their number to be called when we get into the games.”

Do the backs have different skill sets? “Yeah, I think so. I think Myles (Gaskin), if I had to break it down, Myles is probably a little more of your shifty, vision guy in tight spaces and great balance. You think about Lavon (Coleman) as more of your power guy who’s going to break a couple tackles. He’s good at doing that. I think of Jomon (Dotson) as your long, linear guy. A guy you can do different things with, throw the ball to him out of the backfield. When it’s all said and done we want these guys running the ball, making guys miss in space, and running after contact.”

On the pass protection of the backs “I think the big thing is being able to be physical. These guys have done a great job of being physical in the pass game and really getting in good body position so we can maintain our blocks to help the QB. The one thing if I had a definition for what we’re trying to do is help the pocket integrity with our pass protection.”

On Sean McGrew and Kamari Pleasant “They’re doing good. Those guys - it’s going to be exciting watching these guys as they develop in the program. I think Dawg Nation has some good guys to cheer as we move forward in this process.”

What’s the defining attribute of all the running backs? “Great effort, great attitude, and being tough. Effort, attitude, and toughness. That’s it.” Top Stories