27 August 2010
With Derrick Washington out for at least the first few games and in a worst-case scenario, his entire career, where do the Missouri Tigers go from here?
Things have turned upside down for Derrick Washington.
First of all, it sounds like Washington could be dealing with some very serious issues here. If you haven't read the story that the Columbia Missourian scooped, do so. It's very informative.
To sum it up, a woman in her early 20's claims Washington sexually assaulted her at about 2:30 am June 19th. There was supposed to be a court hearing for the case on July 7th, but neither party showed up. No charges have been filed YET, but the prosecuting attorney could still do so. Additionally, Athletic Director Mike Alden said he's known about this for "a few weeks."
This raises the question:
If it happened back in June, why is Washington just now being suspended?
I think the team knew about the issue and was hoping it'd play out before the season started. If the case was dropped, Washington is the starter and no one would ever finds out about it. But now that the season is about to start and this clearly isn't going away, Pinkel is not going to let Washington play until it does. He suspends Washington with a week to go before Illinois so that Kendial Lawrence and Henry Josey can at least get a week's worth of reps in with the first team.
What does this all mean?
First of all, Kendial Lawrence, welcome to the show. You were practically worshipped by some Mizzou fans during your recruitment. Time to live up to the hype.
Lawrence rushed for 219 yards on 52 carries as a true freshman last year.
Also, get familiar with the names Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy. Both are true freshmen who had played well this fall. Some were thinking they might burn redshirts. Well, take Washington out of the mix, throw in an injured DeVion Moore and well, there's no question they're burning redshirts. Josey is reportedly the fastest player on the team.
Blaine Gabbert, this is your team. Obviously he's the quarterback and some would say this has been his team since spring ball, but I beg to differ. With Washington's experience and improved play this off-season, I would argue he had become the leader of the offense. He is certainly more vocal than Blaine out on the practice field. Blaine always says this is his team, but I could never tell if he truly believed that himself. He better believe it now.
What happens to D-Wash?
Best case scenario: The woman recants her story, says it was all a misunderstanding and everything goes away. Washington would be back with the team immediately.
More likely: This plays out for a few weeks before it's settled and Washington misses four or five games before coming back and being a bit rusty and out of shape.
Worst case scenario: Washington is charged with a crime and has to go through a lengthy legal process. In this case, his Mizzou career may be over.
Obviously, this is not the news you want to hear eight days before the season starts. Washington had not only emerged as a leader for this team, but he also has more career rushing yards and more receptions than anyone else on the team. In my mind there is only one other player that would be worse to lose for an entire season and that's Gabbert. This is a huge blow. However, Mizzou has talented players behind him that will have to step up and earn their stripes.
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