SEATTLE – Shaq Thompson makes it clear: he is a linebacker first.
But considering the buzz generated this week by his brief participation in a running backs drill at Washington’s spring practice on Thursday, it is worth asking the UW junior if he’s open to an additional role in the Huskies’ offense.
Turns out he’d be just fine with it. He even pitched the idea to UW coach Chris Petersen, who appears to be more than fine with it.
“At first, I was kind of joking about it – ‘what about me at running back?’ ” Thompson said Saturday. “And he said, ‘yeah, we’ll take it into consideration.’ ”
Thompson didn’t get any work with the running backs during Saturday’s practice, but it was the first time this spring he was made available to reporters, so he knew the questions were coming.
Petersen said they’re still in the experimentation phase, though he again suggested that in addition to Thompson pulling double-duty, sophomore receiver John Ross could play defense, too.
“I know Shaq can be a good running back. I see John Ross’ feet, I know he can play defense,” Petersen said. “So it’s just about where we need the help the most and how those guys can help the team the most. A lot of that won’t be determined until the fall, where we are. We may not need them early, then we have depth issues and we’re prepared a little bit for down the road.”
Thompson said only one school – Utah – recruited him as a running back. But that’s not what he wanted to do full-time in college.