Pride Exclusive: Coach Pat Washington

Southern Miss seemed to be very talented and very deep at running back coming in to the spring practices. People lost a little optimism when star runner Damion Fletcher was suspended from spring practice due to off the field issues. However, the absence of Fletcher has allowed for the other backs to flourish.

Running backs Coach Pat Washington is in his first year with Southern Miss and he has been impressed with the backs on the team so far and he has enjoyed being around them.

"It has been good, It has been really fast and everybody is playing with a good pace" said Washington "actually, it has been fun."

Coach has been very impressed with his backs' ability to fill the void that Fletcher left when he was shelved with his suspension. Tory Harrison has emerged as the go-to-guy.

"I think that Tory has come in and done really well as the starter right now.

He is a guy with experience and a tough guy that goes out there and puts forth effort every time."

Coach is equally impressed with the progress that his other two running backs. VJ Floyd has emerged as a very reliable back that the coaches feel comfortable calling on.

"VJ is productive, experienced, I mean, he played and started some last year so he is a guy that I feel comfortable putting in the game."

The other running back that people have been chattering about is the freshman spring sensation Desmond Johnson. Desmond has made a name for himself this spring and people have taken notice after seeing his performance in the scrimmage game at Madison Central.

"He is done a very good job. For a freshman, he is learning, but it is still a lot of stuff to learn. It is all kind of new to him, but he has done a good job picking it up and when he is out there he is productive."

The running backs group is obviously one of the strongest units on the Southern Miss team this year. Coach Washington spoke on the overall strengths of his squad.

"Number one, we have got a lot of experience. We have three guys that have played in football games so that is good. Number two, is they are very polished zone runners. They understand how to read and follow blocks very well."

Despite being such a talented group, the running backs still have some areas that they need improvement in.

"We are not very big, so we aren't very good pass protectors. We have to get a little crafty in the ways that we protect our Quarterback."

Coach Washington is content with the running backs that he has, but admits that he is excited about the great recruits that he has coming in.

"I am very excited, you got Kendrick Hardy and Tracy Lampley; They both have different styles, but they are both productive players."

There is no doubt that Southern Miss has a great stable of running backs and Coach Washington hopes that the guys can come in and help the team win.

"I just hope that we can be productive and help this team win games."

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