Had a chance to talk today with Huskies defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, who previewed Arizona’s two quarterbacks and assessed the play of UW’s edge rushers and interior linemen. Here’s what he said:
(On how Elijah Qualls, Greg Gaines and Vita Vea have looked playing together so far) “Yeah, those guys are big, strong, athletic guys and they’ve played a lot of football and they’ve been playing at a high level, so for sure.”
(Did you think last season you could play those guys together?) “Eventually we thought that would be the case. Early in the year last year, Vita and Greg were redshirt freshmen, so everything was new and they were just getting their feet wet. But as the season went on, they both picked it up, and that’s where we are today.”
(On how the outside linebackers have played so far in pass rush) “For what we’re asking them to do, they’ve been awesome. We do a lot with those guys. So when they’ve been asked to rush the passer, they’ve done a good job for the most part, keeping them in the pocket and pressuring – whether you call it a pressure or a hit on the quarterback. But all our production, it’s a team or unit effort. It’s about those four guys, or if we’re blitzing guys, it’s not just the two edge guys that we count on to rush the passer. I think they’re doing well.”
(On Keishawn Bierria and Azeem Victor playing well together) “It was like that last year. First off, they’re really good friends, good buddies, then they feed off each other, motivate each other, keep each other grounded, and so it’s been awesome, the way they’re working together.
(On the next step for those two) “Keep getting better and not listen to the outside noise. That was the biggest challenge. So far, so good.”
(What do they need to get better at?) “Just everything. Their drops, their ability to change direction, their tackling. I could go on and on. There’s always something that we can get better at. There’s not one thing that stood out that they can get better at, it’s a combination of everything.”
(On Arizona quarterbacks Anu Solomon and Brandon Dawkins) “They’re similar guys. Dawkins might be a little bit faster, but they’re similar guys as far as what they do in that offense. They both scramble, they both sit in there and spit the ball out quick. Both can get it down the field. So the only difference is one’s got more experience than the other. That’s about it.”