Aug 22, 2013
BEAUMONT - After the Lamar football team wrapped up practice Thursday evening, head coach Ray Woodard called the 2013 senior class back to midfield, but this conversation wasn't just about football. They talked about graduation, leadership and ultimately what the group means, not only to Lamar, but to Woodard personally.
"I just wanted to meet with them again and help realize the moment and how important it is," Woodard explained. "This is the most special class of seniors that I've ever coached, and tomorrow may be their last two-a-day ever. Some of these guys have been going at each other for four years straight, and they mean a lot to me. They deserve as much credit as anyone for bringing college football back to Lamar and southeast Texas."
"It kind of just brought us all together," revealed senior James Washington. "We've been here for a very long time, and he just let us know that he's proud of us and the job we've done up to this point. We now have to push things to the next level and try to bring some of these younger guys with us and take more of an assertive role with the team. This is our team, and we know it as well as anyone does."
"Since Day 1, we've always felt that our class was the backbone of this team," Washington added. "One of the things that we hope to be remembered for is our true character showing itself on the field. We come in to work hard every day. Whether it's a day off or not, we're coming in to lift and run, and we ran seven-on-seven drills through the summer. We work hard together. I just hope that shows on the field."
Washington, who also already earned an undergraduate degree from Lamar, has been a stalwart member of the linebacking corps over the last three seasons and he looks for his compatriots, including fellow senior starters William Jones and Jermaine Longino, to play a vital role in the Cards' success this season.
"We've always felt that we've had a pretty strong group of linebackers here, even going back to the first year," Washington said. "In a 3-4 defense, we're a very critical part of the defense. We have to be very vocal in terms of getting guys lined up and making sure people get in the right spots."
"I appreciate the job those guys do," Woodard added. "They probably haven't gotten enough accolades, but they sure get it from me. They have to be versatile and do so many different things for us defensively, and I'm proud of what they've done."
Joining the trio of senior starters in the current depth chart is redshirt-junior Jestin White, and redshirt-senior Anthony Beard is expected to get his fair share of snaps as well.
The Lamar football team will have its final two-a-day of the year on Friday, beginning with a morning session at 9 a.m. at Provost Umphrey before returning for round two at 7 p.m. The Cards will conclude the 2013 preseason camp on Saturday with a scrimmage at 9 a.m. Both practices and the scrimmage are open to the public.