One player that will be key to the Florida State offense’s success this season will be left tackle Darius Washington. The redshirt freshman is arguably the most physically gifted player on FSU’s offensive line and could be the cornerstone of that group for the next few seasons.
Saturday night was the first time Washington, right tackle Devontay Love-Taylor, center Maurice Smith, left guard Dontae Lucas and right guard Baveon Johnson lined up as a group in a game together. Washington’s start against Georgia Tech was the fourth of his career and the entire starting offensive line has a combined total of just 44 starts, including the 16 games Love-Taylor started for FIU. And because of that inexperience individually, and as a unit, Washington knows the offensive line needs to get better with two weeks to prepare for Miami.
“I think we had some good, some bad,” said Washington when asked about how the unit performed in a game where the offense averaged 3.1 yards rushing and gave up three sacks (just one with entire starting five in the game). “Just need to work on just staying consistent with our play. Just build going forward from this game.”
Washington said there is a lot he and his teammates can learn from after the 16-13 loss to the Yellow Jackets.
“It is always good to go back and look at the things that you could have done better and to just work on those things,” said Washington about identifying what went in the season opener. “Once we realized that we are adjusting to these mistakes, then it will be more of a good flow.”
He also expects he and his teammates to focus on themselves during the bye week before turning to Miami preparation.
“This week is all about us, so we are just trying to build as a team, just get better and just compete,” said Washington after practice on Tuesday. “Today it was high energy at practice. We are just ready to move on to the next.”
Washington was also asked about his level of confidence after the season opener but he knows his success goes hand-in-hand with linemates.
“I don’t really want to speak on myself,” said Washington. “I want to just stick to the o-line unit because it is not just one person on the o-line, it is five people. We all have to play great to be able to be a good team.”
He is also taking the long view after the Georgia Tech game and knows what he and his teammates found out about themselves can benefit them long term.
“You say disappointments, I don’t see this as disappointment.” said Washington when asked about the Tech game’s ultimate outcome. “We don’t like losing, but it is just another lesson we can build on and just come together as a team and just re-focus ourselves for our next opponent.”