Huskies Insider Blog

DL coach Jeff Choate has high praise for EWU and QB Vernon Adams

Huskies defensive line coach Jeff Choate spoke with reporters earlier today, and had a whole bunch of nice things to say about Eastern Washington's offense -- specifically its star quarterback Vernon Adams.

(On facing Eastern Washington this week) “Very different style. Hawaii had a really good gameplan last week. They did a good job of not putting that quarterback – stayed ahead of the chains, simple throws, moved the pocket. I thought they had a really good plan and obviously kind of rode 7 (Joey Iosefa). And we were able to rise up and get some stops when we needed them in the fourth quarter, and that was critical.

"But a new challenge this week. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Eastern. I think Vernon Adams is as good of a player as there is at any level in the country. The (Cooper) Kupp kid is a Jerry Rice Award winner. We told our kids, ‘you know who Walter Payton is? You know who Jerry Rice is? Well, those guys played 1-AA football, and they were two of the greatest that every played their position.’ So I think if you explain it to our guys like that – it’s very easy to see on film, these guys expect to win. A lot of these guys are from winning high-school programs. I think Beau (Baldwin) and his staff have done a great job of kind of creating a culture there that these guys kind of have that any time, any place, anywhere mentality. You look at what they went and did to Oregon State last year and played a very good Sam Houston State team and put a bunch of points on them. So this is as good of an offense as were going to face, including Oregon and those types of schools. These guys have very, very talented skill players.”

(On defensive line performance against Hawaii) “I thought those guys had a good game. They did. And that’s to be expected. We have a lot of veteran players there. Danny (Shelton) I think has really matured and kind of embraced a leadership role and he was definitely a force in the middle of our defense. Andrew Hudson, that kid kind of was a forgotten man and has kind of got some new life, and he had a great game.”

(On Shelton playing a lot of snaps) “I think when you’re in a tight game like that, you’ve got to have your best players on the field. It’s a one-point ballgame in the fourth quarter. But I think we did a good enough job of spelling those guys. Our plan going in was the third series, we were going to start rolling the twos, and those guys took a good 20-something reps off of Danny and to his credit, he was able to be physical and aggressive. He’s finishing plays in the fourth quarter, chasing down screens on the perimeter. So I think that speaks to his level of conditioning and the work he put in in the offseason.”

(How many snaps did he play?) “Seventy-two.”

(How hard is it to get to Vernon Adams as a pass-rusher?) “Our guys don’t know who this guy is, but (he’s like) Fran Tarkenton. I called him ‘Vernon Football’ the other day. This guy’s all over the place. Run left, run right, throw the ball over his head sideways. He’s a tremendous player. It’s not just what he does with the ball in his hands. It’s really how he operates. It’s obvious that he’s got a very good command of the offense. They do some look-back stuff, but he controls a lot of the audibles himself. He’s able to identify man, see safety rotation, change the protections. That’s some second-level stuff in terms of what they’re asking him to do, and he does a really good job of getting them in the right play, and when things break down, he’s got the ability to make it right, too.”

(Do they look like a team that expects to win every game?) “Absolutely. There’s no question. They’re a team that’s won a lot of ballgames, they’ve got a national championship on their resume, and they’re not going to back down from anybody. This is a group … I think they’re really well-coached. They’ve got tremendous talent at the skill positions, they’ve got some bounce-down guys that are as good as anybody we’re going to see. I don’t see this as being a situation where our guys are going to overlook them. It’s on film. They know what they’re getting themselves into. So we’ve got to come ready to play.”