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Capable backs behind MU's Washington

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    [​IMG]Derrick Washington's suspension is bad for lots of reasons -- speaking strictly in football terms.

    First, he's one of four captains on Missouri's team. To have one suspended for "disciplinary reasons" nine days before the season opener is a big problem. He may be stripped of that status when he returns, and if he's not, this incident has to at least have an adverse affect on his role as a team leader.

    One would have to think the dynamic in the locker room has changed.

    That's especially true in light of a report from the Columbia Missourian late Thursday night that Washington had been served a protective order in June by a county judge from a woman who planned to press sexual assault charges.

    Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said he knew about the incident--which occured on June 19--for several weeks, but did not confirm that Washington's suspension was directly related to the protective order. How many players inside the locker room knew is unknown, but after today, it's safe to assume they all do.

    The case was "dismissed without prejudice" after neither party showed up to a postponed court date on July 21, but can be brought back before courts.

    Which raises obvious questions surrounding the timing of the suspension, questions which may or may not be answered in the weeks that follow. Missouri spokesman Chad Moller declined comment to the Missourian.

    On the field, it's a bad loss, but not one that cripples the Missouri offense. Although Washington looked like he was on the verge of his best year at Missouri, he also has two capable backups behind him.

    Junior De'Vion Moore has missed several recent practices with an injury, and was surpassed by sophomore Kendial Lawrence as Missouri's No. 2 back. It appears Lawrence will become the No. 1, at least temporarily.

    Both backs are 5-foot-9, and weigh in around 190 pounds. They're both shiftier than Washington and are both big-play threats. Both carried the ball more than 50 times last season and averaged over four yards per carry.

    Moore rushed for 268 yards last season. Lawrence finished with 219 yards.

    They can't replace Washington's experience, but his backups aren't baby-faced scrubs.

    "It was a shock to me," Lawrence said of the suspension, to the Associated Press. "I'm ready to pick up the slack and help this team out any way that I can."

    It was a shock to me, too. Washington seemed ready to go when we spoke at media days in Dallas last month, and to my knowledge, hasn't been in serious trouble before. As mentioned above, he was having a great camp. It looks like that statement is suddenly inaccurate.

    "We just have to fight through it," quarterback Blaine Gabbert said. "Things are going to happen to this football team but we are going to fight back."

    One bright spot for the Tigers is their weak nonconference schedule could come in handy. Beginning the season 5-0 without Washington isn't a stretch, after Missouri opens conference play at home against Colorado.

    But the Tigers begin a brutal four-game slate after that, featuring games on the road against Texas A&M, Nebraska and Texas Tech, as well as hosting Oklahoma. If Washington's not back by then, Missouri will be in big trouble. Of course, a suspension that lasts that long would mean Washington is in infinitely more trouble.

    We won't know how long the Tigers running back is out until coach Gary Pinkel reinstates his third-year starter, and the number of people who know when that date is might be zero.


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