Big 12 Media Days: DeAndre Washington

Texas Tech running back DeAndre Washington was on of three players representing the program Monday at Big 12 Media Days in Dallas. RaiderPower.com interviewed the senior running back about his breakout junior campaign, the depth at his position and becoming a team leader.

Texas Tech running back Deandre Washington made headlines after becoming the first Tech running back since Ricky Williams to crack 1,000 rushing yards in a season.

In Tech's Air Raid offense, consistently producing enough to get close to that number is a big achievement.

Despite the personal achievements last season, Washington only had one thing on his mind Monday at Big 12 Media Days.

"Big 12 Championship, first and foremost."

A big reason Washington was so productive is he stayed healthy and was able to see a consistent numbers of carries throughout the 2014 season. This doesn't mean there is a sense of relaxation, though, as running backs coach Mike Jinks has emphasized the importance of being ready to the younger running backs on the roster.

"Be ready when your number's called. It's a long season, and when your opportunity gets called, you've got to be ready. Like I said, just stay ready because at any given time, anything could happen," Washington said.

One of those running backs is highly-touted 2015 signee Corey Dauphine out of Port Arthur, Texas.

"He's eager to learn, man. He's fast. More than anything he's eager to learn, putting in extra work."

Justin Stockton out of Cibolo Steele impressed as a true freshman, and Washington spoke more about the progress he's made this offseason.

"I talked to him after the season, and I just told him, 'you had a solid freshman campaign. Build off of it.' The work he's put in this offseason, he's on the right track to doing that."

The Big 12's holistic identity has mainly been its explosive offenses and the talented players who have come out of the conference over the years. Lately though, defenses have begun to stand out with teams like TCU and Baylor becoming dominant largely because of what they bring to the table on D.

"You need somebody to rush those quarterbacks. I think those coaches have done a good job recruiting and putting themselves in a good position. You gameplan going into the week, if it's somebody who can disrupt your offense you definitely keep an eye on them."

Washington cited a pair of those disruptive defensive players in Branden Jackson and Pete Robertson who have helped him develop as a rusher.

"Yeah, definitely. You see it week in, week out, you work out with these guys so you see the work that they put in. It definitely prepares you on those Saturdays when you're going against some of the top defensive ends in the conference."

Washington also spoke about coach Kliff Kingsbury and his coaching style.

"He's a down-to-earth guy. I think the guy that y'all see in the media is a lot different from the guy we know. He's a real down-to-earth guy. I'm glad he's my coach."

Washington spoke more about the head coach, explaining his attitude in the wake of a 4-8 season.

"I think it just made him hungrier. He's one of those guys, when we're walking to the weight room at 5:30 in the morning, he's already there, blasting the music and getting it in. Those nights when we're leaving late, he's just now walking out of his office. He's just that type of guy, that type of coach. That's what we respect the most about him."

Perhaps the lowest moment for the football team was the 82-27 defeat in Fort Worth at the hands of the Horned Frogs. Washington was asked about Kingsbury adjusting at halftime in the wake of the team's miscues.

"Once Saturday comes, there's not too much teaching you can do at that point. You just have to go out there and rely on your week of preparation. We went back to the drawing board after the game, we knew we made some mistakes, and we're looking forward to going back against them and the start of the season, Sept. 5th."

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