ARLINGTON — Broderick Washington Jr. never hesitates to remind his Texas Tech teammates of his Longview roots, even if they’re tired of hearing him represent his hometown.
“Man, they didn’t hear the end of it when we won the state championship,” Washington, a senior defensive lineman, said Monday at day one of the 2019 Big 12 Conference Football Media Days at AT&T Stadium. “Every day, even when we first started spring practice, I had my little Longview towel. I still got it actually on the top of my locker. I can just pull it out whenever I feel like it or whenever I feel like anybody forgets that we won state this year. That’s just me though.”
“I take pride in that (state title) because there’s been so many good teams that came through Longview and we couldn’t get it done. It’s just a great thing for Longview as well because Coach (John) King has been needing a state championship. It’s long overdue.”
In 2018, Washington was named a team captain and started all 12 games on Tech’s defensive line, logging seven tackles for loss and 41 total stops.
However, after Tech’s season-ending loss to Baylor in Arlington last November, Kliff Kingsbury was fired as head coach and Utah State’s Matt Wells was quickly hired to replace him, a first for this Longview product.
“It (the transition to Wells) started off a little rocky because most of the players on the team only knew Kliff Kingsbury as the head coach and we only knew his style,” Washington said. “It was my first coaching change, (I’d never experienced one) all through high school, elementary, yeah, so it was different for me.”
And as someone about to start his senior year, he knew time wasn’t on his side, which left him only one choice-buy in to what Wells was selling in terms of culture change within the program.
As Washington thinks about it now, he realizes that decision was a no-brainer. “It happened way before any workouts started or we were put in any team environment with him,” he said. “When I first met Coach Wells, we talked and we talked and we talked. We just got to know each other. I don’t have time to wait and try to feel people out, to see if it’s the right fit because it’s my last year.”
“I got places I’m trying to go. I really just bought in because I love Texas Tech and I didn’t want to leave and go anywhere else and try to start over. I might as well just start over with Coach Wells and get it done. Plus, the success he had at Utah State, why can’t we have that same success at Tech?”
That patience is a lesson Washington learned in 2015, when he redshirted as a true freshman, another foreign experience for the ex-Lobo as he went from being a star player in Longview to spending an entire season on the sidelines.
It was a huge adjustment for the now senior, but as he looks back he realizes it was one he had to make so he could develop into the senior leader he now is.
“I’m not going to lie, my redshirt year almost broke me because I wasn’t really used to sitting out and not playing,” Washington said. “It showed me that sometimes you got to sit back and wait your turn. It taught me patience really. That patience, it made it me realize that I don’t know everything and you can always learn something new. That’s what I did, I took it, soaked up all the information I could and as you’ve seen over the last couple years, it’s been shown on the field.”
He enjoyed his four seasons under Kingsbury, but now as Tech prepares to begin its first season under Wells, he realizes the time was right for a culture change.
“I feel like it’s much needed. The type of coaching that he brought in, I feel like we should have been having,” Washington said. “We hold everybody to a certain standard and the standard’s not any lower for anybody on the team. Everybody’s treated the same.”
On Monday, a Dallas-area TV personality asked him to fill in the blank: Texas Tech will be a bowl team this year if?
Instead of answering that query as it was asked, Washington opted to modify the question, delivering an response which illustrates how much he’s bought in to what Wells has been preaching since the day he was hired to turn things around in Lubbock late last year.
“Texas Tech will be a bowl team this year because we’re tough and disciplined,” he answered.