home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


February 6, 2019

Al Washington

Columbus, Ohio

Q. Past coaches here have a policy of not using the word "Michigan." I'm wondering if you're granted a waiver?
AL WASHINGTON: I've banged out about 30 push-ups, so I'm not immune to it. But tons of respect -- you want to get into the details of it, but I think I got a pass, I guess.

Q. In all seriousness, you're going from one side of the rivalry to the other, and that to me would seem to be a strange experience, and I'm wondering what that experience has been like for you.
AL WASHINGTON: Well, I mean, the football side of things, you still have a lot of the same elements, but yeah, I mean, it's an adjustment for sure. You know, especially when you're all in. I'm not one of those half-foot-out kind of guys. I'm all in.

But a ton of respect for the coaches and the players there. It's a unique experience to say the least, but I'm excited about where I am and excited about what's ahead.

Q. When you come into a new place and you have returning starters or players that were starters last year but you also have a lot of talent on the bench, how do you look at that from top to bottom? Do you have to re-analyze everything? How do you make decisions because the linebacker position last year was one of the most heavily talked about positions from a fan standpoint in terms of are the right people playing, is the scheme the right way. How do you come in and tackle all that?
AL WASHINGTON: Well, I mean, you've got to give the kids a chance to prove themselves to you during the spring, right, I mean, workouts. So my take has always been to evaluate the body of work that you have, so you look at some things about last year, and then consider what you're doing this year. And then give them a chance to show you if they can execute and do the things that you need them to do.

I feel like I can't accurately answer anything on that because I'm just -- I'm getting here, I'm literally just getting here. The past two weeks we've been on the road. So having a chance to see these guys work out and having a chance to watch film, you can kind of get an idea, but I want to be accurate when I answer that, so I'm anxious to see this spring really who's going to compete. They all can run. I mean, I would -- every kid in that room is pretty talented, to your point.

We'll get the right pieces in the right places, I'm confident.

Q. Jobs are open?
AL WASHINGTON: I wouldn't say jobs are open, and I wouldn't say jobs are -- I wouldn't say anything like that. Just right now I'm just getting to know them. That's what I'm willing to say right now.

Q. Could you just kind of discuss your decision being a Columbus guy, having worked at Michigan for as long as you did, to come back here, what was that like emotionally for you? How hard a decision was that for you?
AL WASHINGTON: It was a hard decision, you know. Like I said, I'm like -- when you're in a place, wherever you are, you try to be all in, right. It's not like a stepping-stone place. So you really -- not only are you involved, your family is involved. It's tough. You know, it's really tough. But again, like you think about where you are, this is home for me. This is an unbelievable situation and program. You're excited in the same breath.

It's not -- I wouldn't put it in the easy category, but fortunate in the same breath.

But when you respect where you come from, when you respect the situation you were in, it's always a little more difficult.

Q. And how tough a decision was it? What finally made you decide to come here?
AL WASHINGTON: I mean, a lot of reasons. You know, I think Ohio State, I've known Coach Day and know the program and tradition, but mom and dad are 20 minutes away. I've got a three-year-old, a one-year-old. My wife went here. A lot of who I am is from obviously the 614 and Columbus and my father playing here. You all are pretty versed in that narrative. I think those things definitely were major contributors to coming, that unique blend of everything. So yeah.

Q. Did you seek out your parents' guidance on this?
AL WASHINGTON: I mean, yeah, we talk about it, but ultimately I'm 34, know what I mean? I mean, I've got to live it. You know, it wasn't like -- I mean, we talked about it, but they understand that this is what I've got to do with my family. That's kind of what the goal is.

Q. Greg mentioned having two inside linebackers, one outside linebacker. Should we expect what we saw this year, the hybrid outside linebacker?
AL WASHINGTON: We're still talking through pieces. What you can expect is an aggressive defense that's going to play fast, okay. Look, we're going to simplify things to where the guys can play with the enthusiasm necessary to be productive, and so we're -- again, I don't want to speak before -- we're still working through it, but to answer your question, we're going to see an aggressive defense, guys playing fast.

Q. I've done a couple stories with your dad here recently. He went through the process when you went to the team up north, and his reaction to that, which was pretty interesting. So when you told him you were coming back, how did he react?
AL WASHINGTON: You know what, he empathized with me. He may come off as -- but he understood it was tough. I had to drag him -- I remember him coming to the spring game, he had threw a Michigan hat on him and he had an Ohio State jersey underneath; know what I mean? He was excited for me because it was the best decision for me and the family. But he empathized. He understands. You know, there's a lot of shared respect there.

Q. Is it true that when he went up there for that spring game or a game, he said, yeah, you know, it's all right, and Coach Harbaugh is all right, but it's just too much blue?
AL WASHINGTON: That's true. That is a true statement. But yeah, he was around quite a bit, man, so yeah.

Q. How close were you to staying at Michigan? Did Harbaugh try to give you a different position?
AL WASHINGTON: I don't want to get into the details of everything, but I absolutely have a ton of respect for Coach Harbaugh. He's been nothing but great for me. It was a tough decision. Throughout it all, like he really respected where I was coming from. You know, that's kind of where I'll leave that.

Q. Devin Bush, what kind of pro is he going to be?
AL WASHINGTON: He's a football player, so you throw him in pros, you throw him in high school or college, he's going to play. He's one of the better players I've ever been around. Physically he is, but his mindset and -- so I expect him to do very well, yeah.

Q. You've recruited this state for other programs. I'm wondering now that you're recruiting this state for Ohio State, does your approach change at all in terms of timeline when you offer kids? Not the tenacity you use to approach recruiting but the timeline of things because you are dealing with the power program in the state?
AL WASHINGTON: Yeah, I mean, you've got to consider that. You have to consider the timely things, and you have to really make sure that there's a relationship there. You know both sides are familiar with each other. So I think you definitely -- and that goes with everywhere I've been. At home base you have to really be thorough, and at a school like Ohio State, to be honest, I could be in California and still feel good about the chances of a kid, if you do offer him, a kid committing. So I think you have to be very meticulous and very detailed in how you -- making sure you get every question answered that you need before you extend yourself because there's a good chance the kid may join, and obviously it's different when you're home.

Q. What I'm getting at is there's been some discussion here in years past about offering in-state kids too early because you don't want a commitment from a kid that you're not sure how he's going to develop just yet. I'm wondering if your perspective on that has changed now that you're recruiting here instead of recruiting somewhere else?
AL WASHINGTON: Not a ton. If you get a young guy that you know has the earmarks to being a really good player, I think you make your judgment and -- so no, I would say no on that.

Q. How would you describe the relationship that you've built up with Zach Harrison during the recruiting process?
AL WASHINGTON: Yeah, it was good. Zach is a great kid. Obviously it's documented we spent a lot of time, myself, Coach Mattison and Coach Johnson obviously, so yeah, it's a good relationship. I know he and his family well and a ton of respect for them. So yeah, you know, it's a good relationship.

Q. And then the idea of -- could you describe sort of what it was like when he chose Ohio State and then now you and Coach Mattison are here and he was saying, probably Coach Johnson and Coach Mattison and you are the guys he spent the most time with, and now he got all of you?
AL WASHINGTON: Yeah, when he committed to Ohio State I was bummed out. I was, I guess, pretty upset, but I understood. It was one of those deals where he said, I'm going -- I said, hey, man, best of luck to you.

The decision to come here was -- we talked, and it was pretty unique. To have all the people -- I'm sure there's some other coaches he was close with, also, but to have us there is pretty unique, so yeah.

Q. You and Ryan coached together at Boston College; what were your impressions of him there?
AL WASHINGTON: Ryan, just very poised, and he's very attuned to the situation. Even like the process of me working for him at Boston College, I think he read it right. And fortunately he did. I owe him a lot in that department. Every young coach as you start off -- I was in D-III 12 years ago, whatever it was. You need people to kind of see what you can do, no different than playing a sport.

I think that was my impression of Ryan, and just really poised under the highest of pressure situations. Very knowledgeable, and a great motivator. He is a really good motivator.

Q. Once you got into the coaching profession, did you always have a desire to make it to Ohio State?
AL WASHINGTON: That's a good question. I've gotten that a lot. Honestly, I just wanted to be the best coach I could be, and wherever that took me, I was willing -- because when you leave, you're gone. This is the first time I've been back since 2012. So you kind of just -- I've always -- I mean, Ohio State is the standard, so it's always it would be a nice deal, but a lot of things have to work out for that to happen. To say it was a lifelong dream, I wouldn't say it was, but it definitely, when it came up, I was like, wow, maybe it should have been a dream, because it was so unique.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297