Sophomore linebacker Latravis Washington is probably one of the more positive people you'll meet.
He's seldom without the smile and easy-going demeanor.
That's how he is.
So, when he says he's happy and things are great as he has said throughout this Spring, you wonder just how much of it is real and how much of it is just a byproduct of his seemingly always positive outlook on life.
Ask him, though, and he'll tell you that this isn't a show, and it's not even just him being him. What he's seen thus far this year has had him in a mood he perhaps hasn't been since he arrived. "This is what I imagined it would be like when I visited here when I was in high school," Washington said. "The excitement from the coaches, the players and everyone just happy about being at Nebraska."
Now, Washington is just a positive kind of person, as we indicated. He'll find the good in everything, if there is any good to be found. But even he, who has nothing negative to say about anyone, it would seem, says there are a few key differences this time around.
"Everything is positive. I mean, even when coaches are getting on you, it's positive," he said. "Coach Pelini, he's like the kind of coach everyone wants, because he'll get on you, but you just know that you are getting it for a reason. Everything is to make you better and all these guys are just really high energy about the game."
Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Terrence Moore agreed, saying that when it comes to what a player's coach is, these guys are the real thing. "It's somebody that motivates you and you can talk to. You know, you might mess up on a play, (but) you can go to them, easy," Moore said. "He's going to chew you out, but he's going to make you better. It's nothing personal. He's just trying to get you better. Everybody can see that."
|Back to when Washington was in high |
school, he's seemingly alweays had a
smile on his face.
Both Washington and Moore will be looked at as key cogs in a defense which is in dire need of as many cogs as they can get, coming off statistically the worst season in Nebraska history in regard to its defensive ranking compared to the rest of Division 1-A. Washington is working at the weakside linebacker spot along with recent offensive transfer, senior Cody Glenn, amongst others. Moore will be working inside, but he's been utilized at both the defensive tackle-spot and on the nose.
Moore doesn't see a big difference between the two, because he looks at the position as just one of four which all does essentially the same thing. "Inside is inside, D-line is D-line. You're going to have that contact every play. You just have to be a man playing in the trenches," he said. "It's the same at all four positions. I really don't see it as a big difference."
What Moore does see as a difference, though, is how the players are, and for Washington it's about how one particular former player is about this new as well as old staff, coming back. "He's hyped. I know he's hyped about coach Pelini coming back," Washington said regarding the sentiment of his cousin, current Oakland Raider and former Husker cornerback Fabian Washington. "He hasn't been back yet since the changes, but he's excited about everything that's going on around here right now."
The excitement is one thing, and even the most cynical person has to believe that at least some of this is legit. There's something about how not just the coaches are about the players and the players are about the coaches, but how everyone else seems to be reacting right now.
One clear example is the annual Red/White game, which is the final practice of the Spring session, drawing fans from across the country just to see a glimpse of what the future Huskers can do. But it is a practice, and for the game to be sold out, which it's expected to be come game-time, has to be a surprise, even here.
Call it irony then that a young man who didn't grow up in the Husker state already feels that he knows the Husker Nation well enough that when he hears it's going to be a sellout, he doesn't bat an eye. "If it wasn't sold out I'd be surprised," Moore said, who hails from Louisiana. "We've got great fans. I think the whole state feels how we feel, and we're excited, so I think the whole state is excited, too."
Haven't we heard this all before though? Haven't we heard that things are great, the world is wonderful and players are as happy as they have ever been? Again, it's not hard to get desensitized to it, because you hear it every single year.
When it comes to the defense, though, these coaches and the entire team, both Moore and Washington, who weren't born into this world of the rabid red, feel that whatever people have seen or felt in recent years, now it's the real thing.
"When you are looking at schools when you are in high school, you want to think that how you are going to feel about the place is how I feel right now," Washington said. "This is it. This is what you hope it's going to be. If you can't be excited about this, I don't know, maybe you need to do something else, because I think this is exactly how it's supposed to be."
Again, Moore agreed. "This is a totally different feeling from what it was last year. Everybody feels that way. We just all feel real good about what's ahead of us right now."