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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Jayhawk LB Washington ‘fine now’

Senior fully healed from shoulder injury

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Apparently, Kansas University linebacker Eric Washington resorts to erasing his memory when bad thoughts come up.

The senior missed some of Fort Worth Bowl preparation and parts of spring practice because of a shoulder injury, then was dinged up and held out of several August practices.

Yet ask Washington, and his mind - perhaps intentionally - goes blank.

"I don't know nothing about that," he said with a smirk. "I'm 100 percent now."

At least his play is backing it up. Washington had a team-high 10 tackles and three quarterback hurries against South Florida, and his 30 tackles on the season are second to Mike Rivera's 35.

It's not a bad start for a guy who had to watch a lot of practices between December and August - even if he doesn't remember all the standing on the sidelines. KU coach Mark Mangino, for one, is pleased with Washington's play, even though he was a bit rusty when he was back to full health.

"Not physically, but from an assignment standpoint, a little bit," Mangino said. "He needed to see more things, get more looks in practice. But he's fine now. I think he's doing a pretty decent job."

¢ Better in Lincoln?: An odd stat surrounding the Nebraska-Kansas series: KU historically has done better when the game is in Lincoln.

While the Jayhawks overall have stunk both at home and on the road against Nebraska, their record at Nebraska's Memorial Stadium is 15-41-2. At KU's Memorial Stadium, they're just 7-46-1.

¢ Keeping the ball: Nebraska and Kansas are ranked first and second in the Big 12 Conference in time of possession. KU has had the ball for an average of 31:57 per game, while NU leads the way with 33:24.

"Time of possession can be tricky, but with a fast-moving clock, its starting to mean more and more now," Mangino said. "It's good to have the ball in your hands. It's even better to have it in the end zone. That's what we're striving for."

¢ This, that: Kansas and Nebraska have played each other in 101 consecutive seasons, the longest uninterrupted series in NCAA Division I-A history. : Kansas has started conference play 1-0 just once in the Mangino era, after beating Missouri in 2003. : KU's next three opponents have a combined 10-2 record, and the three after that are just 3-9.

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