Big 12: Derrick Washington

Lunch links: Rumor mill swinging wildly

December, 21, 2011
Can't people just cheer by themselves? Like, on their own? To themselves?
Former Missouri running back and co-captain Derrick Washington was sentenced to five years in prison for the off-campus sexual assault of a former tutor.

He may serve significantly less time, though.
Washington had faced a punishment of up to seven years in prison, a sentence sought by prosecutors. But he could now be released after 120 days in a "shock incarceration" program, while remaining on probation for the duration of his five-year sentence.

Washington's lawyers argued that no matter how long Washington spends in prison, he'd already been significantly punished.

The prosecuting lawyers, however, argued for the maximum sentence.
Defense attorney Chris Slusher, arguing for probation before the judge issued the sentence, said Washington harbored NFL dreams and was projected as a fourth-round draft pick before he was charged. He's now a registered sex offender who won't be able to coach youth sports teams or even visit his own child's school without permission, Slusher said.

"No matter what the court does today, Mr. Washington has already been punished," he said. "Those (NFL) dreams are likely done."

In arguing for the maximum sentence, assistant Boone County prosecutor Andrea Hayes said Washington has not apologized to the 24-year-old victim nor acknowledged any wrongdoing in the case.

"The defendant has yet to take responsibility for his actions," she said. "He's a predator."

Washington led Missouri in rushing as a sophomore and junior, and was named a team captain before being suspended and eventually kicked off the team during preseason camp in 2010. He was allowed to keep his academic scholarship.

More on this story here.

Lunch links: The next Big 12 commissioner

November, 14, 2011
I made my money the old-fashioned way ... I got run over by a Lexus.

Lunch links: Piecing Big 12 together

September, 22, 2011
I guess this is just one thing we'll never know, like what happened to the Titanic.

Lunch links: Why the Pac-12 fell through

September, 21, 2011
New Quinn is awesome. That is all.

Lunch links: Arguing with Stoops

June, 21, 2011
Is Bon short for Bonathan?

Lunch links: Canada comes calling

May, 11, 2011
We belong in a movie
Try to hold it together 'til our friends are gone
We should swim in a fountain
Do not want to disappoint anyone

Lunch links: Big words aimed at Sooners

March, 22, 2011
But the real question is, when will Barney learn his father is also the Trinity Killer?

Players weigh in on Marcus Dupree film

November, 10, 2010
ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary on one-time Oklahoma star Marcus Dupree premiered on Tuesday night, and will air again Thursday night at 11:30 p.m. ET.

Plenty of players across the Big 12 caught the premiere, and weighed in with their thoughts via Twitter during the show. A few selections:
Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud (@Austen_4): "Sad story marcus dupree the best rb that never was"

Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden (@bweeden4): "I'm watching the 30 for 30 on Marcus Dupree. That dude was a beast. I wonder what would of happened if Switzer treated him better at OU???"

Former Missouri running back Derrick Washington (@Wash_24): "MARCUS DUPREE WAS TOOOO GOOD.."

Missouri receiver Wes Kemp (@Wes_Kemp_8): "Watching espn 30 for 30 on Marcus Dupree...Dupree was a stud"

Kansas receiver Daymond Patterson (@15staylive): "I love that @espn 30 for 30"

Texas A&M receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu (@7sbackkkTX): "This 30 for 30 is amazing"

Former Iowa State quarterback Bret Meyer (@Bret_Meyer7): "Sad story on Dupree. Wonder what would have been if he played in diff era."

Iowa State receiver Josh Lenz (@jlenz19): "Crazy story! At least he got back to the league for 2 yrs but def sad"

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Tim Barnes remembers well. He should, he was there.

Missouri's senior center had -- in the most frustrating sense -- a front-row seat to Oklahoma's dominance on the line of scrimmage in three victories over the Tigers in 2007 and 2008.

Missouri left as losers, never coming within single digits of the Sooners, who celebrated a pair of Big 12 titles and a national championship appearance at the Tigers' expense.

"They pretty much handled us up front," Barnes said.

The quiet flights home from Norman and later San Antonio in 2007. A year later, the bus from Kansas City.

[+] EnlargeDe'Vion Moore
AP Photo/L.G. PattersonDe'Vion Moore celebrates one of Missouri's two rushing TDs against Oklahoma. The Tigers rushed for 178 yards against the nation's No. 1 team.
There wasn't much silence in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday night and into Sunday morning, following the Tigers' 36-27 win over No. 1 Oklahoma -- and there won't be in this midwestern college town for some time.

The Tigers' linemen on both sides of the ball are to thank.

"Our ability to run the football for 178 yards was huge. The offensive line played very, very well," said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel, who earned his first-ever win over Oklahoma and the program's first-ever win over a No. 1 team.

Blaine Gabbert completed 30 of 42 passes for 300 yards and a touchdown. Why? Well, it was obvious.

"He got a lot of time to throw," Pinkel said.

Way more than Chase Daniel got. The holes were bigger than the ones former backs Tony Temple and Derrick Washington tried to fit through. These Tigers won, and they did it by imposing their will on two Sooner lines filled with piles of recruiting stars that couldn't do anything about it.

This was a win over a No. 1 team, and it was a win over one of the Big 12 bullies that have tormented the Tigers, beating Pinkel 11 consecutive times before tonight.

It was a win for the program, and those players from the recent past were there to celebrate. Former receiver Tommy Saunders smiled amidst the sea of students on the turf, looking for someone to hug. Former linebacker Brock Christopher found one of his old teammates, defensive lineman Bart Coslet, and welcomed him with a huge, congratulatory hug.

There's no ceiling for Mizzou anymore. It left Faurot Field with the students carrying the goalposts to Harpo's downtown, celebrating through the steady rain. Players like Saunders, Washington, Christopher, Daniel and Temple helped Missouri reach that ceiling.

A new generation of players like Gabbert, Aldon Smith, T.J. Moe, Jerrell Jackson and Henry Josey helped shatter it.

"We wanted to come out there and prove to everyone that this year," Barnes said, "it was going to be a little different."

[+] EnlargeKevin Rutland
AP Photo/Jeff RobersonKevin Rutland and the Missouri defense disrupted the Oklahoma offense -- forcing two interceptions and holding the Sooners to just 99 yards rushing.
Message received. The defense held the Sooners to just 99 yards rushing.

Missouri knew this would be different early. The first time a Tiger touched the ball, Gahn McGaffie raced into the end zone on an 86-yard kickoff return. The first run from scrimmage: 20 yards by De'Vion Moore, longer than any other carry by a tailback in any of those three games in which Missouri failed to take its next big step as a program.

"We have a lot more experience and guys are getting better," Barnes said. "We wanted it so bad. I know for the linemen, it's just a little different for us."

It's different for Mizzou as a whole now, too, and Gabbert left no doubt as to what "it" was.

"I give all the credit in the world to our offensive line. They did an extremely good job winning the battle in the trenches," he said, "and that's why we were successful tonight."

The defensive line played just as well, pressuring the Sooners and hurrying Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones.

The only thing the Missouri defense seemed to do wrong all night was fail to take an interception return into the end zone, a pick only created by Aldon Smith's pressure on Jones. Smith tipped the ball to himself and had to settle for a 58-yard return into Oklahoma territory, swinging the game's momentum and setting up a touchdown that put Missouri ahead 14-7 early.

"We'll talk about that later," Gabbert said of the return with a wide smile.

Pinkel couldn't help but crack a joke at the weaving return, too: "He's always talking about playing tight end," he said.

Smith's return to the field -- one he later said he had to make against the No. 1 Sooners -- from a broken fibula, helped spur a line that disrupted Oklahoma's passing attack, limiting them to just 60 yards passing in the second half after 248 in the first. None of Jones' final seven passes found their receivers; one found Missouri linebacker Zaviar Gooden deep in Oklahoma territory, which set up a field goal that put Missouri up 29-21.

"Our defensive line did really, really well, and that tempo of offense is very, very difficult," Pinkel said of the Sooners' high-speed attack. "When you win games like this, generally you go to the line of scrimmage and that tells the story."

It was a different ending this time for the Tigers, a story in Missouri's history that will be retold for decades. But after Saturday's celebration late into the night, they'll wake up on Sunday knowing that what happened on Faurot Field on Oct. 23, 2010, is exactly that: history. And that story's ending has yet to be written.

"We play Nebraska next week," Pinkel said. "This isn't the national championship."
Missouri began preseason camp with a two-year starter at running back in Derrick Washington as a perfect compliment to quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the passing game.

Washington was permanently suspended from the team nine days before the season opener, leaving the running game to a handful of backs coach Gary Pinkel already had confidence in, but also a handful of backs who had never handled a large share of the carries.

[+] EnlargeHenry Josey
AP Photo/L.G. PattersonFreshman Henry Josey leads Missouri with 212 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Now, at 4-0 and entering conference play Missouri is one of the conference's most efficient running teams.

"We have two players that were experienced players coming back. That in itself, is where we’ve got to lean on those two guys, De’Vion Moore and Kendial Lawrence, and we have a couple freshmen in Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy," Pinkel said. "They’re good young players and definitely have great speed and we’re going to work. Our running game isn’t where we want it to be, we’re looking to improve and we’ve adjusted to that loss."

The Tigers' running backs average nearly six yards per carry, and only Nebraska has more rushing touchdowns in the Big 12 than Missouri's 12. Meanwhile, only Texas Tech has carried the ball fewer than Missouri's 124 touches through four games. The Tigers also have seven runs of longer than 20 yards.

Twice this season, Missouri has topped 190 yards and had five rushing touchdowns.

"We’re really just focusing on what the defense is giving us. If they’re going to play three people, four people in the box, of course we’re going to run the football and take advantage of that opportunity," said Gabbert. "My job is to do whatever it takes to win the football game. If we need to run the football, that’s what we’re going to do."

That job has meant pitching the ball to the sidelines on a bubble screen or pass to the flats, statistically a pass, but a play Missouri considers an extension of its running game.

"We’ve done pretty good overall. The whole thing is about consistency," Pinkel said. "I think [the offensive line is] certainly where it all starts. Not only for us, in running the football, and you get hats on hats and stay on blocks certainly, but protection, which is a big part of what we do. Our offensive linemen have to be very athletic because we ask so much of them."

That protection has helped Gabbert complete 70 percent of his passes in three games this season, and just under 84 percent against FCS foe McNeese State.

"If they’re going to load the box, we’re going to throw the ball. So it’s just taking what the defense is giving us right now," Gabbert said.

But Missouri's four running backs have had to shoulder an unexpected load in Washington's absence. Moore already has nearly half the number of carries he had last year, and the short passes have helped tight end Michael Egnew and receiver T.J. Moe both rank in the top-10 nationally in receptions.

Gabbert says he's spoken to Washington a few times since he left the team, but the focus remains on operating his offense without the former star who topped 1,000 yards and scored 17 touchdowns in 2008 before being hampered by a knee injury last season.

"It's their jobs," Gabbert says he told his young running backs. "Kendial and De’Vion have been there. They know what to expect going into Big 12 play. But the young guys like Marcus Murphy and Henry Josey, I’m just telling them to focus. Every team is good in the Big 12 and it’s going to be competitive."

Lunch links: Bug zapper needed

September, 29, 2010
"There is no such thing as a shark attack...We're humans. We live on land. Sharks live in water. So if you're swimming in the water and a shark bites you, that's called trespassing. That is not a shark attack. A shark attack is if you're chilling at home, sitting on your couch, and a shark comes in and bites you; now that's a shark attack."

Lunch links: Sports psychology

September, 17, 2010
Why stop at a Silent Scare? Why not an Absent Scare? Just stay home and watch the Red Raiders on TV. That'll show those Horns!

Lunch links: Trash-talk lessons

September, 16, 2010
I get it, you're terrified of small talk and birds. You're just lucky that pigeon didn't want to chat you up about the weather.

Lunch links: Huskers ahead of the curve

September, 13, 2010
I feel it's necessary to point you in the direction of my Nebraska prediction from last week.