From Where to Turn Washington Loose?

ATHENS - Reporters posed six different adaptations of the same question to Cornelius Washington Wednesday.

The line of questioning lingered on exactly what position the Bulldogs' defensive standout plans to play this season.

With newly hired defensive coordinator Todd Grantham installing a 3-4 scheme, players like Washington, who played defensive end last season, may be changing positions.

Will it be a shift to outside linebacker or remaining cozy at defensive end, asked with every angle and form imaginable.

Washington didn't take the bait. He just smiled, even laughed, and shook his head. His numerous responses to the frequent inquiry were as follows:

"It hasn't been completely set yet. I just try to train hard and make myself available to play.

"Well I just let the coaches make the decisions and I go where they ask me to go.

"Uh, I hope to go wherever they want me to go. As long as I can help my team do whatever I can I'm good.

"I really don't know. We have a whole lot of guys who are willing to do whatever it takes to help us win. I just feel like [the coaches] will make the decisions that they need to make to help us get ready for the season."

You get the idea.

Washington enjoyed a breakout season in 2009, amassing four sacks and 13 tackles as a redshirt freshman.

His frame, currently at 6-4, 256-pounds, was cited as a weakness in the past. The Burke County product came to Georgia weighing 224 pounds, and had speed rarely found in defensive ends. He gained 32 pounds, but managed to keep most of his agility. That's why fans and media pundits have already pegged him to side to outside linebacker.

Last season, while coaching the Dallas Cowboys defensive line, Grantham's ends all weighed over 300 pounds. Now, trying to find that much bulk at the college level in only months would take a small miracle, but the Bulldogs' future trend at the position will get heavier.

Under this philosophy, Washington has no choice but to move to linebacker.

One Dallas star outside linebacker compares favorably to Washington. Demarcus Ware is 6-4, 262-pounds, and has 64 career sacks, all while playing in the 3-4 scheme. Many see Washington assuming the role Ware played in Dallas.

But Washington isn't talking about himself. He only sees what the unit as whole can do.

"Well, it just gives us a lot of different things that we can do," he said. "It makes it harder on the quarterback to see what's coming so that's going to help us win games."

And as for last season? The slate has been wiped clean in Washington's mind. Any play, or tackle, or good game doesn't matter anymore, he says.

Washington says that every defensive player is pretty much a freshman in terms of the new scheme and coaching staff. And, just like he did last year under Willie Martinez, Washington intends to prove he's capable of making plays.

"It lets everybody have an audition," Washington said. "Everybody will at least be able to show what they can do. I don't feel like it's this season there is such thing as a freshman player because everybody has an audition. So I guess in a sense everybody is a freshman."

Dawg Post Top Stories