Here's what defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake told reporters earlier today about how his players fared against Hawaii, what he's expecting from Eastern Washington and who might see more playing time on Saturday.
(Recap of Hawaii game) “I think the guys were focused. I think we played hard. I think early in the game they made a couple catches on us. We were in tight coverage and they made a couple plays, had us on our heels a little bit. But then it was nice as the game moved forward, I thought we played really good red-zone defense. Tackled well. Didn’t let a lot of big runs get out. I’m talking about the secondary. And then they didn’t have any big, long pass plays. So in that regard I was happy. But we were very disappointed we had no turnovers. That’s one of the things that we preach. Our job is to score or get the ball back, and to come out of that game with no turnovers was a disappointment, so hopefully we can improve on that.”
(Gameplan to keep everything in front of you?) “No, not at all. We were playing tight, man coverage the very first few plays there. Hawaii did a good job of getting the quarterback out of the pocket to their best receiver, No. 29, and made a couple of plays right there. So give credit to them, nice little 10-yard completions, 8-yard completions, 12-yard with pocket movement. Then they ran the ball well with No. 7. At the end of the day, give up one touchdown and three field goals, if we do that for the rest of the season, it’s probably not going to be too bad of a year on defense.”
(Looked like Budda Baker settled down?) “He did. The kid’s 18 years old. Maybe 17. I think he’s 18 years old. Playing his first college football game. He’s playing against an Australian kid who’s 29 years old (Scott Harding), No. 29, a guy that’s played a lot of college football and he’s an older guy. Made some plays on him early on, and he (Baker) didn’t blink, he didn’t back down, and he ended up making his share of his own plays as the game progressed.”
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(Jermaine Kelly?) “He’s definitely got to make some more plays on the football. The biggest thing with him, also, he’s got to tackle. If they’re going to catch the ball, you’ve got to tackle them. Another guy that’s a freshman. He’s got to get better this week. That’s going to be a big emphasis for him. If he does get a couple completions on him, he’s got to tackle. At the same time, we’re going to see a lot of those other younger guys get in there. A lot of those other freshmen will get in there. Roll those guys in and see how those guys fare."
(That includes Naijiel Hale and Sidney Jones?) “Yeah, they’re going to get a chance, and also (Darren) Gardenhire is going to get a chance too. And we’ve got to get Travell (Dixon) in there also. So we’re going to get some young guys and one old guy and let’s go. We’re going to see if the cream rises to the top.”
(On Eastern Washington) “I think they understand what a type of team this team is. It’s easy to see on tape and then all you have to do is look at the ranking, look what they’ve done the last few years. National championship, semifinals, championship games. Put up 49 points on Oregon State in Reser Stadium and beat those guys just one year ago. So if that doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will. So our guys, they understand that this is a very, very fierce opponent. Very, very prolific on offense. They play tough defense and we’ll definitely have a fight on our hands.”
(EWU a challenge for young secondary?) “It’s a huge challenge. You have a quarterback that’s one of the more accurate college quarterbacks I’ve seen. He’s going to be a Russell Wilson-type guy that’s going to run around and keep plays alive, and if he sees guys downfield, he’s going to throw darts, and if everyone’s covered up, he’s going to try to run for 10 and run for a first down. They have an excellent scheme run by Beau Baldwin, a very, very highly respected offensive mind, and they’re going to spread it out and throw the ball all over the lot, and we’ve got to make some plays.”
(Playing at Eastern Washington?) “That was a long time ago now. We made it to the semifinals when I was playing. They’d made the playoffs before. But nothing I don’t think anything close to what they are now. They forgot about my team. They’ve moved on. They’ve had a lot more success since then.”
(EWU so different than Hawaii?) “That’s the special thing about college football, in terms of each week you’re going to see a different offense, a different phase of offensive play whether it’s run or pass. Where in the NFL, it’s almost like the same offenses every week in, week out, week one through 16. College football, you don’t know what you’re going to get. Is it an option team, is it a high spread attack? So yeah, you’ve got to flip gears. It’s going to be shotgun, five wides, four wides, and they’re going to be chucking it up and down the field. They’re telling their guys they have to make plays catching the football on us, and we’re telling our guys we’ve got to make plays when they try to catch the football. It’s going to be a dog fight, all the way through, the whole game.”