In a pivotal Pac-12 matchup at UCLA in November, Washington got an up-close look at perhaps college football’s best two-way player.
Myles Jack, the former Bellevue star, scored four touchdowns and made five tackles, leading UCLA to a 41-31 victory over the Huskies.
Five months later, the Huskies are toying with the idea of unleashing their two-way threat.
It was only one drill in the second practice of spring drills, but there was Shaq Thompson in the backfield Thursday morning, taking a handful of handoffs and cutting upfield during UW’s practice at the Dempsey Indoor Center.
Make no mistake: Thompson is a linebacker first, and that seems unlikely to change. But it was new UW coach Chris Petersen on Monday who introduced the idea of using Thompson on offense — perhaps only in a special package, he said, or perhaps for more — and it seems like more than just an experiment, even at this early stage of spring.
“He’s a monster. He’s a monster, man,” cornerback Marcus Peters said. “It’s going to be real unique to see him run the ball. Everybody talks about Myles Jack running the ball, but Shaq Thompson really can run that ball.”
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the UW locker room who objects to having Thompson in the backfield. Even linebackers coach Bob Gregory likes the idea.
“I had no vote, but I certainly endorse it,” Gregory said. “I think it’s great. It’s fun stuff, and I think he’ll enjoy it.
“I think we gotta try to get our playmakers the ball. I think he’s a good football player, and whatever that (needs) to be — whether that’s doing a little on offense or whatever it is, I think he has a role doing something for us.”
Thompson, a junior, earned All-Pac-12 honorable-mention recognition each of the past two seasons as an outside linebacker.
Thompson and Petersen were not available for interviews after Thursday’s practice.
Hudson, Campbell glad to be back
They said their goodbyes at the end of the 2013 season, apparently ready to move on after four years at UW. Now, defensive end Andrew Hudson and receiver DiAndre Campbell are again in the mix for the Huskies, eager to prove themselves to the new coaching staff.
“It feels good to be back,” said Hudson, a starter in 2012 who has been working almost exclusively with the first-string defense through the first two spring practices.
Both Hudson and Campbell were honored during UW’s senior ceremony before the regular-season finale last season against Washington State. Hudson, who lost his starting job in fall camp last season, said UW’s previous coaching staff had made it clear to him that he would be better off if he left the program after his junior season.
Once Petersen was hired, the door cracked open for Hudson and Campbell to return this spring, with a chance to play as fifth-year seniors next fall.
“I’m looking to give all I can to this program,” Hudson said. “There’s really no thought in my mind of being done here.”
Campbell, a reserve receiver the past three seasons, said he “definitely” has something to prove to the new staff.
“Just a fresh opportunity,” Campbell said. “A new start, a great coaching staff — people that believe in discipline and details and have a championship formula, and that’s what I’m all about.”
Kennedy, Lewis nominated for Hall
Former Washington stars Lincoln Kennedy and Greg Lewis have been nominated for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation announced Thursday.
Kennedy, an offensive tackle from 1989-92, was a member of UW’s 1991 national championship team and the only Pac-10 player in 1992 to be named a unanimous All-American.
Lewis has been nominated for the third straight year. In 1990, Lewis was a first-team All-American and the first Doak Walker award winner. That year he was also named the Pac-10 offensive player of the year after leading the Huskies to the conference title.
In all, 75 players and six coaches from the FBS level have been nominated for this class. Ballots were mailed this week to more than 12,000 NFF members and current Hall of Famers. The Hall of Fame class will be announced in May.