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Friday, December 24, 2010

Q&A: Cornelius Washington

Some people were predicting a breakout year for Cornelius Washington, who as a redshirt freshman in 2009 had four sacks and 13 quarterback pressures. But it didn’t happen, as he spent the season rotating with Darryl Gamble at one of the outside linebacker spots.

Washington admits he could have done better, but has expectations to make 2011 his big season. I sat down with Washington on Monday – well actually we were both standing, but you get the point.

SE: How do you reflect on your season?

I feel like I helped us win the games that we did win. It wasn’t the best season I ever had, but I feel like I’ve done my part.

SE: Why wasn’t it your best season?

Well, it just wasn’t statistically the way I wanted it to be. But I had a role, and I stayed inside my role, and that’s all I can do.

SE: Do you feel like staying inside your role was more what the coaches wanted, or could you have done more?

I feel it was what the coaches wanted. You do what they ask you to do. They put the best people on the field and that’s what they did. So I just did what they asked me to do and did my best.

SE: You want a larger role though.

Everybody wants a larger role. Everybody wants to be on the field all the time. But that’s not feasible all the time.

SE: Darry’s obviously a senior and Justin may not be here. So do you view next year as a chance to step into one of those outside linebacker spots?

Oh yeah, definitely. The role I played this year, it wasn’t like I didn’t do anything. You know I had a pretty significant role this year. But next year my role on the team is definitely gonna pick up some. I’ll have more responsibility, so in that aspect I feel like I’ll be able to deliver.

SE: You feel like this year, you had high hopes to emerge, but now next year it’s definitely gotta be time?

You know coming into this year we had a new defense, new scheme, new this, new that. I definitely feel like it was gonna be a different scenario than what it played out to be. But I definitely feel like next year is gonna be the year for me.

SE: Did you get a chance to rush the passer this year, or did they have you more back in coverage?

Uh … some. I got a lilttle some. It was probably more often than I can remember. But really I didn’t make some of the plays that I should’ve.

SE: So you put it more on yourself. What did you need to do better in order to make those plays?

Well just get a better rush. Get off and get after the quarterback more often than I did.

SE: That’s what you’re going to focus on next year then? If Justin does leave, they’re going to need those edge-rushing guys.

Right. That’ll definitely be something I focus on too. But this offseason and this season I tried to work on my run game too. So I was trying to get that better. But next year I’ll definitely be ale to step up and be able to do something in the pass rush.

SE: I mean you’re definitely similar in size to Justin, and speed and athleticism, do you look at what he did and say –

I can do that. Yeah. That’s what it looks like. I feel like in practice we look real similar, and we do similar things. Make the same plays. So I definitely feel like next year is going to be a better year.

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