Post Practice Video - Jimmy Lake

Washington secondary coach Jimmy Lake discusses the progress of the defensive backs so far during spring football...

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What does the first day in full pads mean for defensive backs? “Nothing changes for us in terms of shell to full pads, but it’s the real uniform that we play in on game days, so that’s what’s awesome about wearing full pads. We have to have everything in. It’s just awesome, the guys energy out there is just a little bit different because we have full pads. Offense now can cut, we work on cutting drills on these days. It finally feels like real football.”

What did you get from last week? “It’s always fundamentals. We’re always working on fundamentals, our base defenses, making sure they know our bread and butter calls inside and out. Now we’re going into week two, now we’re starting to build and put more defenses in. What’s nice is we do have some older guys, at linebacker, at defensive line, and at safety. We can add more and more and more and the young corners are going to have to progress as we go.”

On coaches and players helping Jomon Dotson get up to speed at corner “Yeah, it always is. That’s what’s great about our group. We have a lot of guys that know the techniques that I’m teaching, whether from a Jordan Miller to an Austin Joyner, Myles Bryant. Some of these guys that have been here now for a year or a couple years, it helps our learning process when I’m coaching somebody else, they can reach around and say ‘hey, he means this.’ The learning just excels that way when more guys are coaching.”

Has Austin Joyner been limited in team drills? “He has a little bit, we’re just kind of bringing him on a little bit right now. He was out there today, made some good plays today. As we progress here a you’ll see him a little bit more.”

Have you always encouraged a culture of older guys mentoring younger guys in the group? “No question. It’s the power of the unit. The power of our unit, the more that we can be bonded together and work together as a team, as a DB unit, and have pride that we’re trying to be the best in the country and we’re all bringing each other along. Whether you run with the first team, second team, third team, fourth team, it doesn’t matter. We’re all trying to help each other and we’re all trying to get better. That camaraderie you can pre-practice, after-practice, everybody is working with each other, trying to get each other better. You can see it in the meeting room. The guys will discuss ‘hey, I have this question,’ and they’re talking amongst each other as I’m coaching up somebody else. The more we can continue to build on that camaraderie the better we’ll be.”

How do you manage guys waiting their turn in your deep secondary? “It’s part of the deal. That’s why they hire us and pay us. We have a lot of talented guys that know they’re talented and whether it’s giving a guy some reps during a game, giving a guy a third down rep here, or showing a guy like a Byron Murphy that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. You’re going to be able to put on 10 pounds, learn from two potential first-round draft picks, and then here you go. The stage is yours. You still have to work hard. We have three more guys coming in this fall. They’re going to want to play. But competition makes us all better. No question, it’s a challenge. I love guys that are hungry and want to play. It would be very bad if it was the other way.”

What’s the expectation for Jordan Miller this year? “I want all the guys to play well. Obviously I guess Jordan (Miller) just because maybe he’s the oldest corner, it must be expected that he’s supposed to do something. He has high expectations for himself. He wants to play well. He’s being a good leader right now for these young guys. I know Jordan. I don’t place any expectations on him except just go out there and compete, work hard everyday, and when the ball comes your way don’t miss any layups, make sure you pick it off.”

What are you looking for in your nickel? “A lot of things. It takes a really talented guy to play that position. The first thing you’re always looking for is toughness. Basically it’s a hybrid linebacker, safety, and a corner. We ask that guy to blitz, we ask that guy to attack the running backs. He has to be a great tackler like an inside linebacker. At the same time you have to be athletic enough and fast enough to cover the slot and be smart enough to make a lot of calls out there. Are they playing zone, is he blitzing, is he playing man? He’s making calls to the inside linebacker, to the corner, to the safety. It really is a tough position to learn. That’s why I train a lot of guys to play that position, because of injury and it’s a big part of what we do on defense.”

How would you put this state of the cornerback position through one week? “Yeah, it’s only four days. I’m excited. It’s awesome watching all the guys competing out there. We have two more guys coming in the fall. It’s going to be a highly competitive training camp in 2017, but right now in spring football it’s highly competitive. Byron Murphy is out in front in interceptions. He has three now for spring football. But Myles Bryant and some other guys are closing in. Austin Joyner will eventually get more reps here so I think you’ll see him closing in here as well.”

On Byron Murphy’s ball skills “Well if you go back, the guys used to give me a hard time about it, coming out of high school I raved about it; I think he said he had the best hands I’ve ever seen out of high school. I truly still believe that. His high school tape was really unbelievable. His ball skills. It’s nice to see now. He’s playing more now with he first team defense and it’s coming true right now. He does have excellent hands and is able to track the ball in the air. That’s going to allow us to make a lot of plays. Our job is to score or get the ball back. When you have guys like that, that changes things.”

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