Huskies Insider Blog

Quoting DBs coach Jimmy Lake on the Eastern game, youthful mistakes and Marcus Peters (sort of)

Washington defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake spoke with reporters earlier this afternoon, and he was very careful to direct each of his answers to questions about Marcus Peters (and his reported suspension) back to the position group as a whole. (Also, worth noting here that no Huskies defensive backs were made available to speak with reporters today.)

(On Saturday’s game) “What was a real positive was the way we finished the game. Had a lot of guys come in that hadn’t played a lot and stepped up, made some key stops down the stretch. Would have been really nice if we would have cashed in on those four interceptions that we dropped, which would have stopped those drives. But give Eastern a lot of credit. We said it going in. we knew it was going to be a dog fight. They’re a heck of a team, they score a ton of points, Beau Baldwin, one of the best offensive minds I’ve ever been around in my coaching career. And that quarterback, he’s a hell of a football player. It’s fun to – not fun, but it was good to get through a game like that where there were mistakes made, we can correct those mistakes through a victory, and now we’ve just got to move on and focus on getting better, just like we do every week.”

(Positives from the game?) “The positive is we kept fighting. One of our things around here is to be competitive. No back down, no lay down, no matter what the circumstances are. We were in for a fight. The whole game, we knew we were going to be in a fight. They made a lot of plays, we made some plays down the stretch, so that was the positive.”

(On improving this week) “Every week there’s going to be a lot of improvement, whether we win by 60 or lose by 7, there’s going to be something to improve on. We’re never where we need to be, and we can help these guys out with some different coverages. We’ve also got to make some more plays on the football, and then when we get a chance to intercept a football and stop a drive, we’e got to cash in and make sure we catch the football.”

(On young guys finishing the game with Marcus Peters on the bench) “That was what I was just talking about was a big positive toward the end of the game. Really, the second series of the third quarter and all the way throughout the rest of the quarter, we played with all those young guys. And we started making some key stops down the stretch. It was fun to watch those guys not back down. They knew they were going into a dog fight and we ended up making some plays down the stretch.” 

(On confidence and not getting INTs and stops) “We shot ourselves in the foot a ton of times, too. We’d get them in third down and make a stop, and then we’d get a defensive penalty and then all of a sudden, you’re giving an explosive, potent offense another set of downs. And yeah, no question, we stop them on a third down and drop an interception, and all of a sudden they go for it on fourth and they have the ball again and now they get another fresh set of downs. What was great about it was we went through a lot of adversity, we ended up making some plays down the stretch, we made some key stops and ended up getting the victory. No matter what, this is going to be a work in progress throughout the whole rest of the year. It’s a fluid depth chart. We’ve got a lot of young guys. We’ve got guys getting some game reps. You can see Budda (Baker) now from game one to game two is getting a little bit better, and that’s what we’re hoping each and every individual does, whether you’re a sophomore, junior or freshman, we’ve just got to make that step, game after game after game.”

(How much do you lean on Travell Dixon this week with Peters out?) “Not only Travell Dixon – Sidney Jones, Darren Gardenhire, Naijiel Hale. It’s going to be the whole group, the whole unit. All hands on deck. We talk about that in our room all the time. It’s all hands on deck, every snap. We’re not just going to say we’ve got to rely on one guy. And also what we talk about in our room, it’s not just all on the DBs either. We’ve got to get a great pass rush, we’ve got to have great zone drops from our linebackers. We’re all in this thing together.”

(Do you have a feel for what to expect from them now?) “I’ve done a couple of these interviews the past few weeks and I’ve said, hey, we’re going to see how these guys want to perform when the lights are shining, when the cameras are rolling and it’s game time. It’s one thing to do it in practice, but then you’ve got to be able to perform when it’s game time. And I think we’re starting to figure out a couple of guys here and there that excel when those lights are shining bright, and there’s a couple of guys that still need to make some improvement when those lights are shining bright. But we’re still going to get those guys opportunities. They’re going to get out there, and they’re going to get their chance again.”

(On need to make plays) “No question. And that’s what it is. At defensive back especially. It’s out there for the whole world to see. You’re either making the play, or not making the play. And so we have to continue to work on making plays in practice, but then that has to carry over when it’s a real situation on game day. So it’s just going to be a work in progress as we move forward for everyone in our room.”

(On facing good QBs early in season) “For me, this is not totally unexpected. We knew going in that we were going to play with a lot of young guys. For us to think that we were going to go in this thing and quarterbacks were going to be throwing for 50 yards and we were going to have 10 interceptions a game, that probably wasn’t going to happen. We’re making some mistakes. We made some positive plays also. But now we’ve got to get our hands on the football. We dropped two interceptions against Hawaii, we dropped four against Eastern Washington, which completely changes the game. So we’ve got to shore that up and for the whole crew, we’ve got to get better each week. We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and move on.”

(What does Brandon Beaver have to do to get on the field more?) “Not just him, all the guys – we always say it starts with special teams first. If you’re making plays on special teams, if you’re a physical force on special teams, then you’re going to get more play at your position, whatever position that is – linebacker, wide receiver, DB. And so that’s where he needs to really show up right now for us is in the special teams game. It’s such a tough man’s game and he needs to pick his game up there, and as soon as he picks it up there, then we’ll know we can really trust him to put him out there more on defense.”

(On Pete Kwiatkowski saying they called too much man coverage) “That may be the case. Obviously, the way we look at it is, if you’re in man coverage, we’ve got to make that play. They obviously made a few more plays than we made. But yeah, you can look back and say that was probably one of the more deadly accurate quarterbacks we’re going to face, and he’s done it over time, year after year after year. And so yeah, we definitely could have helped these guys out by playing different coverages here and there, so it does kind of come back on us as coaches to put these guys in position to make plays. But at the same time, we’re going to have to play man. We’re going to have to play man and we’re going to have to be able to make those plays next week, and as we move forward the rest of the season.”

(More on confidence in young players) “We do have confidence in our guys. A lot of those plays we were right there, and their guys made the play and we didn’t, which is unacceptable. We have to make those plays. That’s what we’re going to work on this week to make those strides, and hopefully you guys will see that this Saturday.”

(Have you talked with Marcus Peters about Saturday’s incident?) “I talk to all of our guys all the time, and so the rest of that stuff, that’s going to be handled later. But I’m in constant communication with all my players.”

(How does Peters’ emotion work for him and against him?) “I think that’s for anybody. Whatever sport you’re playing, if you let the emotions get the best of you in baseball, you see managers get kicked out of games. You get a technical foul in basketball. Golf, you’re going to miss a three-footer. That’s sports. That’s for everybody. You’ve got to keep your emotions in check, especially between plays.”

(Is that something he needs to work on, or is that across the board?) “I think that’s everybody. We talk to these guys all the time about being able to respond the right way when a certain event arises to achieve the right outcome. I think that’s all of our issues all the time. I’ve got to make sure I stay poised when I see something I don’t like. So we’re all going to continue to work on that.”

(How would you like to see Peters respond to what’s happened?) “I want all of our guys to be able to play within our system and not get dumb penalties and make plays on game day. So that’s the thing we talk about with all of our guys and continue to get better every single week and never being settled on where you’re at. As coaches or as players, we’re always trying to take that next step to better our craft.”