March 30, 2012 – The Oklahoma Sooners have some holes to fill with some marquee players departing the team in 2012 for the NFL Draft. One of the players that need replaced is Frank Alexander, the superstar defensive end.
In 2012, one player that hopes to take over Alexander’s spot is senior R.J. Washington. Washington played in 26 games over the three last three years for the Sooners, serving spot duty for both Alexander and Ronnell Lewis. Head coach Bob Stoops had kind words to say about Washington’s performance over the winter and when the Daily Oklahoman interviewed the senior, he seemed encouraged.
“It’s hard to replace a player like Frank. But this is Oklahoma,” Washington said. “That’s the standard. If somebody goes down, just like when Frank got out of the game last year, you’re supposed to play at the same level Frank played at. So I don’t think it’s anything new, I just think we’ll have to find a way to bring the same kind of energy that Frank had and the same kind of play that he was bringing.”
After red-shirting for the Sooners in 2008, Washington played four games in 2009 and finished with a half sack. In 2009, he increased his workload and played in nine games, his best performance being against Utah State, where he finished with two tackles and two quarterback hurries.
Washington played in all 13 games in 2011, as the main backup at defensive end. He finished the season with 16 tackles, 11 unassisted, and an impressive five sacks. He also finished with five tackles-for-loss. Washington had his first career multiple sack game with two in the Insight Bowl and ranked second in 2011 among defensive ends with five passes broken up.
Washington also said he is still working to get better to help become a major contributor on Mike Stoops’ defense in 2012.
“Just stay positive, going through practice,” he said. “That’s the most important thing. Practicing to get better, not practicing just to get through practice. That’s not what you want. You want to go out there and work on something every day so by the end of the spring you’re a different player and better than your former self.”
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