Oct 12, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Oregon Ducks running back Byron Marshall (9) breaks a tackle by Washington Huskies linebacker Shaq Thompson (7) during the 2nd half at Husky Stadium. Oregon defeated Washington 45-24. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
One fascinating question for Husky Football heading into fall camp if junior linebacker Shaq Thompson will see time at running back this season.
Thompson is arguably the most gifted overall athlete in the Washington program and that is what makes this scenario a legitimate possibility. In addition, Thompson did spend time as a running back at Grant Hugh School in Sacramento so he is familiar with the position.
Thompson had some explosive runs in spring scrimmage situations. Thus, with his overall speed and physicality should strike fear into opposing defenses.
Overall, there are multiple reasons why it is a very good idea for Washington to utilize Thompson at running back during the 2014 season.
First, the fact that Thompson has the best chance to be a game breaker type of running back on the roster this season. Thompson would not need to be like Bishop Sankey and carry the ball 30 plus times a game. The key for the offensive staff would be to get Thompson about six to eight touches and let him be an athlete.
Next, it sends the right message to the rest of the players that this new staff will do whatever it takes to win. When you have a special talent like Thompson you take advantage of it while understanding the injury risk.
Football is a violent game and there is always an inherent risk of injury on both sides of the ball. This is why having fear of a superstar player getting hurt can’t paralyze a coaching staff in its decision-making process.
If Thompson shows that he can handle playing both linebacker and running back then he should do both. The goal is to win games by using the players that give you the best chance to win. This also will send a strong message to future recruits that if you are good enough to play both ways that the Washington program will let you do so.