August 11, 2009

Washington hopes spring translates into fall

COLUMBUS - Ask any avid fan of the Ohio State football team and they will most likely not have any trouble telling you who Taurian Washington is.

This is a rather curious thing given Washington has been nothing other than a reserve wide receiver during his time with the Buckeyes. In fact, Washington had no receptions last year in his sophomore season and caught only three passes in 2007 as a freshman.

Well, those numbers resemble his outputs during the fall.

During his time as a Buckeye, Washington has made a real name for himself during the off-season and has become quite the "spring warrior," showing sings of explosiveness and incredible playmaking ability during spring practices and the annual Scarlet and Gray Game.

In doing so, Washington has given great hope to his teammates and the Ohio State fans that great things could be ahead for him, but thus far those strides during spring drills have yet to carry over into the season.

"Basically heading into camp I have one goal, and that is do to just as well during the fall as I did during the spring," Washington said. "I don't just want to be a big-time spring player."

While Washington didn't have any excuses as to why the performances have carried over into the fall, he did say that it is easier to perform in the spring setting given it is more relaxed atmosphere.

In fairness to Washington, however, he may have not been getting the same amount of opportunities during the fall given Ohio State has typically been stacked at the wide receiver position since he arrived in Columbus.

"Things are a lot more relaxing during the spring and there isn't a lot to worry about," Washington said. "That's not an excuse, I don't know. There have been some mistakes that I have made in my first two years and I am getting better at those. Now, I am just carrying over to the fall what I have done in the spring."

In the 2008 spring game, Washington was the leading receiver for the Gray Team, pulling down for catches for 71 yards that included a 51-yard touchdown strike from current reserve quarterback Joe Bauserman.

In this season's spring game Washington struck again when he caught a 44-yard touchdown pass from Terrelle Pryor en route to leading the Gray Team in receiving for the second consecutive season. This year, Washington led his team with four receptions for 92 yards.

His teammates know what he is capable of and he certainly is confident in his abilities, but the only thing left for Washington to do perform in the fall.

"I have really been working on being a receiver that can just go out there and get it and going up there and getting the ball," Washington said.

If Washington has had an opportunity to really crack the starting rotation, it is certainly this upcoming season. Ohio State lost its two leading receivers from last year when both Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline pursued careers in the NFL.

On top of that, senior receiver Ray Small did not report for camp on Sunday because he is reportedly dealing with some academic issues.

In all, Washington is excited about his new opportunities to go out there and make a name for himself, in the fall. In fact, the Buckeyes are probably counting on him to step up this season in a very youthful wide receivers corps.

"It is going to open up a lot of doors for guys who haven't been playing and guys who have been able to get out on the field," Washington said. "It is good because (the coaches) are going to have to come out and look at us so we can get some attention and hopefully some playing time."

Despite lacking a lot of experience during the regular season, a lot of the younger receivers look up to Washington as a veteran of the group. Freshman wide receiver Duron Carter used Washington as an example of the some the things he is learning from some of the older guys.

"We basically trying to get them familiar with the plays and we are trying to teach them the techniques they need to play here and at the next level," Washington said.

Washington knows that this season could really be a big opportunity for him and his main concerns rest with finally getting on the field and showing everyone that what he showed during the past two springs wasn't a fluke.

If it is ever going to happen, there doesn't seem to be a better opportunity for him than this season.

"I have been waiting for a couple of years so I really plan on getting out there and finally helping my team out," he said.

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