September 1, 2010

Ready to Run

What exactly will Missouri's running game lose without the services of Derrick Washington? It has been the subject of great debate among Tiger fans this week. But it's not even a blip on the radar with the head coach.

"I don't think that's real important," Gary Pinkel said. "We move 'em over, move 'em up. That's what we do and there's no excuses."

At the risk of insensitivity, that says it all. Injuries happen. Arrests happen. And in major college football, the next guy had better be ready.

"You have to have (that attitude)," said Kendial Lawrence, who will start in Washington's place. "You can't go on about just being down. It takes away from your performance. You have to just jump over the bump and go higher."

In the last two games of this series, Missouri has run for 343 yards. Washington has accounted for 191 of those, including 130 in the 2008 win, the first start of his career. It is now Lawrence who will step into that spotlight role as the lead back.

"I'm ready to pick up the slack and be there for my team in any way that I can," Lawrence said. "It's unfortunate that it could happen like this, but we just have to go along with it."

Lawrence ran for 216 yards on 51 carries a season ago as a true freshman. Moore had 234 yards on 58 carries. The duo combined for one touchdown. Marcus Murphy and Henry Josey have a combined six weeks of practice and zero college experience between them.

Without Washington, Missouri loses 27 starts over the last two seasons. No tailback on the roster has started a college game. That changes Saturday. Is the Tiger quartet ready?

"I hope that they can grow up real quick," Barnes said. "That's what they need to do."

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