Friday, December 22, 2000
WashingtonsThe first time Cedric Washington played football at Aloha Stadium five years ago, his life belonged primarily to special teams.
career goes full
circle in Hawaii
For the Boston College
running back, Hawaii is the
beginning and the end
By Paul Arnett
He and seven other fifth-year seniors made the trip with Boston College to play the University of Hawaii in that 1996 season opener, won by the Eagles on a last-second field goal, 24-21.
In those final days of former head coach Dan Henning, Washington was part running back, part defensive back. With Mike Cloud carrying the football, Washington's services were limited to one carry for 11 yards in a game against Notre Dame.
New head coach Tom O'Brien didn't know what to do with Washington, so he decided to redshirt him in 1997, allowing the senior from Holyoke, Mass., an opportunity to begin and end his career in Hawaii.
"I think there were eight of us who came over for that game," said Washington, including starting quarterback Tim Hasselbeck. "But only three of us played. I think I actually went in for a few plays at linebacker."
Washington plans to have a bigger impact his second time around at Aloha Stadium in Monday's Christmas Day game against Arizona State. Although his role diminished somewhat this season by the emergence of sophomore star William Green, O'Brien still started Washington in nine games.
Green was suspended on Monday for breaking team rules. He led the Eagles in rushing this season with 1,164 yards and 14 touchdowns. He will be reinstated after the Aloha Bowl.
"He's hurt by what happened," Washington said. "You feel for him. But as a team, we have to move on."
It's not as if there's a major drop off with Washington carrying the football. He rushed for 676 yards and five touchdowns on 152 carries this season. Twice he broke the 100-yard barrier vs. Army and Navy. He has turned that corner seven times in his career.
A knee injury in early October against Virginia Tech forced him to the sidelines for one game. The recent time off has allowed his knee to heal. He should be at full speed against the Sun Devils.
"I'm used to carrying the load," said Washington, who rushed for 1,122 yards as a junior last season. "We're coming off a disappointing loss at Miami and are thankful we get a shot at redemption. Whatever the coaches want me to do, I'll do. I'm ready."
O'Brien is thankful for that attitude. Having to pull Green from the lineup wasn't an easy decision. The broken rule by the sophomore from Atlantic City, N.J., was reportedly along the lines of missing a class or practice.
Where Washington is steady, Green is explosive as his first team All-Big East selection will attest. His average of 105.8 yards a game was second in the league and 20th nationwide. And while he didn't start that often, he will be missed, something O'Brien doesn't deny.
"Cedric Washington has been the starter all year, but Green has really come into his own," O'Brien said. "He's a good back, but he's young and still learning.
"Cedric led the Big East in rushing last year. He's not a bad back. He hurt his knee and got banged up a little bit, which allowed Green to step up and play well.
"We still have one good back, but Derrick Knight is going to have to alternate with Cedric. This is an opportunity for him to show what he can do."
As a redshirt freshman, Knight carried the ball only 52 times for 235 yards and one score. That translates into a lot of carries for Washington, who at 5-10, 203 pounds, is a tough man to tackle.
"This is a big game for me personally and this program," Washington said. "It's my last game in a Boston College uniform, which makes it special. No way did I think five years ago that I would be back here again. I want it to be a game I never forget."
Wansley out: Georgia cornerback Tim Wansley, who led the Southeastern Conference in interceptions this season, will miss Sunday's Oahu Bowl against Virginia because he violated the school's attendance policy.
"He missed too many classes," Bulldogs coach Jim Donnan said.
When: Monday, 10:30 a.m.
Who: Arizona State (6-5) vs. Boston College (6-5).
Where: Aloha Stadium.
TV: Blacked out in Hawaii.
Radio: Live KGU (760-AM).
Tickets: Two-game packages (includes Sunday's Oahu Bowl), $45-$55.