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Monday, March 30, 2009

Rushing to be Ready

The immediate goals are simple for Georgia defensive end Cornelius Washington.

"Right now it's just to get healthy and get myself onto the field," Washington said. "Everything else I think will fall into place."

Confidence comes easily for the freshman pass rusher, who was a beast during his senior season at Burke County, when he racked up 55 tackles, six sacks and 18 tackles for a loss. At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Washington is slim, sleek and awfully fast, making him a difficult matchup for opposing offensive linemen.

His speed could have made him an impact freshman a year ago, but he was plagued by injuries. A shoulder injury has him sidelined still, keeping him out of spring practice and keeping fans waiting to get their first glimpse of the potential difference-maker in action.

More than making fans wait patiently for his debut, the injuries have forced Washington to be patient in his progress. His speed is a natural asset that could help him make an impact quickly, but the details that turn a talented player into a great one still must be developed.

"My speed helps, but there's a lot of things that I have to get better, a lot of things I have to work on technique-wise," Washington said. "I'm a freshman and there's still a whole lot of learning I have to do, but I'm ready to do whatever it takes."

A return to full speed for Washington would be a big boost for the Bulldogs, who have been ravaged by injuries at the defensive end position. A year ago, Georgia mustered just 17 sacks during the regular season -- the worst mark in the SEC -- a year after leading the conference in that category. Rod Battle and Washington were among the numerous battered ends a year ago, and both have missed the entire spring this year. Meanwhile, Demarcus Dobbs broke his foot in practice last week, leaving Georgia with just three healthy defensive ends this spring -- a list that includes freshman Jeremy Longo, who redshirted last year, and Kiante Tripp, who moved to defensive end less than two months ago after playing on offense last season.

The Bulldogs expect to be back to full strength at defensive end by the time fall camp opens, but it will be essential, Washington said, to get everyone on the same page quickly once they return to the field.

"I feel like we all have our own separate little things to put in," Washington said. "We all just have to work harder and get better and do the little things it takes to excel. It's not just me and what I have to add. We all have to come together and do our respective jobs."


Anonymous said...

The lack of news - good or bad - from any beat writer or national writer is deafening at this point.

What gives? Surely we are doing something with someone at this point.

It's basically us and Arizona holding up the rear.

This search seems to have one of two outcomes: shocking success or epic fail.

And I am beginning to lean toward epic failure.

David: Have you heard anything? Verifiable or not? Even if it can't be shared, at least it would be a sign we are working on something.

David Hale said...

Check out my latest post... things are happening, and happening quickly.