Lake Says Darnold Is Going To Be A Star

Husky defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake says USC QB Sam Darnold is going to be a star...

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On three interceptions against Cal “That was really out of character to drop so many interceptions (against Utah). Those guys were probably more upset than I was after that game. We felt like we really could have changed the whole dynamic of that game down there. We work on it every single day and we put a little added extra emphasis. We emphasize it every single week but it was awesome to watch those guys cash in on some interceptions. That changes the game.”

What have you seen in USC’s pass game? “This quarterback (Sam Darnold), you’re going to be hearing about this guy for a lot of years to come. I think he’s a really young star in this conference. He’s played excellent football these last five games. You can just tell he’s competitive, he’s savvy, he can run, he can throw. After a while watching tape I’m like ‘this guy’s a freshman?’ He’s a star and he’s really changed the way they’ve played their offense. He obviously has a lot of talent around him to hand the football off to and to throw the ball to. He’s got one of the best offensive lines in the west coast for sure, maybe not the country pass protecting and run blocking for him. This is a scary offense.”

Do you have to cover more when you’re facing an offensive line that’s hard to pass rush against? “There’s no question. First thing we have to stop the run. Those guys are maulers up there. They’re huge like you said. They have a talented stable of running backs. And no question when they do decide to pass the football we obviously want to get a pass rush. But they are mammoths to get around and get through. Whoever is blitzing an d whoever is rushing we have a big challenge in front of us.”

On Juju Smith-Schuster “He’s just so big and strong, really attacks the football. They do a good scheme, designed plays to get him the football. He uses his power and strength to really mow over DBs. We’re going to have to match his strength with our strength and attack the football just the way he attacks the football. He’s definitely a talented football player.”

What were you able to do last year against USC to have success? “I think it was a combination of things. We’ll do the same thing this year in terms of mixinb up our coverages like we always do. We’re never going to sit in one thing. We have to play hard. We have to play intense, hard core football. If we continue to play like that we’ll make our fair share of plays. He’s probably going to make his fair share and some of the other receivers. I do think Sam Darnold, their quarterback, is a special football player. I think he’s a difference between what they had last year. Obviously they had a good quarterback who got drafted in the NFL in (Cody) Kessler. But I do think this young quarterback is going to be a star in this conference. Just having him back their throwing the ball, he’s very accurate. He’s going to give his receivers a lot of chances to make a lot of plays.”

Was it nice to see Sidney Jones getting targeted more against Cal? “Oh definitely. And the touchdown was actually on me. That wasn’t even on any of the secondary at all. He gave up the one go route for like 30 yards. That was on him or on all of us. But the touchdown was not on him. He’s been challenged. He got challenged against Utah. These offenses, they don’t just say ‘oh, I’m not going to throw that way.’ It’s just the way the offense is running their plays and who they’re going to go at, the way the scheme is rolled out. All of our guys have to be ready to go. No one can take a play off and say ‘oh, the ball is not coming my way.’ Extremely happy with when the ball did get challenged to Sidney (Jones) he made plays. The rest of the season’s not like there’s going to be zero catches caught on him. There’s going to be balls caught on him. But if you continue to throw there I’m expecting that Sidney is probably going to make some plays as well.”

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