posted 8 years ago
Comparisons haven't come easily for Gary Pinkel as he's watched tailback Derrick Washington blossom into his team's top running threat.
The bruising 215-pound Washington is a tough between-the-tackles runner as evidenced by his current status as the nation's leading scorer. But he's also a versatile receiver with soft hands and enough speed to streak by most linebackers on pass patterns.
"He's very natural," Pinkel said. "He's a great kid with a great work ethic and I think it's instinct. People ask me, 'Who does he look like?' I think he's very unique. I don't know what he looks like. But all I know is that I like what I see."
After winning the starting tailback position during the spring, Washington envisioned helping his team. But he said he never imagined the kind of season he's produced in the Tigers' 5-0 start.
Washington leads the nation with 12 touchdowns, scoring at least two touchdowns in each of Missouri's five victories to start the season. He also ranks second in the Big 12 in rushing with 500 yards heading into Saturday's showdown against 5-0 Oklahoma State in Columbia, Mo.
"They told me earlier that I'm leading the nation in scoring and I didn't even know it," Washington said. "It's just crazy. I'm glad it's happening, but it's still unbelievable for me."
The biggest offensive question mark coming into the season for the Tigers has evolved into one of its most consistent offensive weapons. And that's saying something considering all of the Tigers' weapons.
The loss of Tony Temple, the only back in school history to run for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, was expected to cripple the Tigers' rushing attack.