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March 8, 2014 at 4:23 PM

UW’s Shaq Thompson on playing running back: ‘It felt good’

Here are select quotes from Shaq Thompson‘s availability with the media after practice today:

(Does running back feel like an experiment at this point?) “Yeah, I’m just seeing how it plays through. Like I said, I’m not really trippin’ off of it because we have the other running backs — Coop, Dwayne, Lavon, Jesse — and that’s their job. My job is to play defense.”

(It was just the one drill the other day so far, right? Did we miss anything?) “Naw, it was just the one drill. Just get my feet wet.”

(How’d it feel?) “It felt good. Brought back some memories from high school. … I’m a defensive player still.”

(Did you work it out with coaches on what drills you’ll do with them?) “They’ll usually tell me the day before what period to go over there, and I’ll go over there. And then the next period I’ll go back to defense.”

(Were you welcomed with open arms on offense?) “Yeah, they’re like, ‘Oh, hey Shaq’s here! Hey Shaq.’ … ‘Hey, what’s up guys.’”

(Do you have both playbooks?) “Naw, they have a couple plays here and there, just the run plays, really, that I have to focus on. That’s about it.”

(Everyone’s comparing this to the Myles Jack situation with what he did last year for UCLA. You obviously took notice of what he did.) “Yeah, I took notice of that. Myles Jack is a good player. I’m not going to take that away from him. He’s a heck of a running back, heck of a linebacker. Very versatile. But he started the trend and I’m just hopping on it.”

(Do you know him at all?) “I know him a little bit. We talked a little bit last season.”

(So he hasn’t given you any pointers?) “Naw. It’s still a rivalry between us, Washington and UCLA.”

(Have you thought that this could be more than an experiment? Have you envisioned carrying the ball on Saturdays here?) “Naw, I’m just envisioning my part at linebacker, helping my team out and excelling as a player.”

(on playing RB) “I kind of started the conversation with him (Coach Petersen). He kind of liked it. We talked to Coach B (Keith Bhonapha) and it worked out.”

(Did you miss that side of the ball? Do you think you can do them both?) I know it’s tough. I do miss that side of the ball, being a running back, touching the ball. The only thing I don’t miss is getting hit in the legs. I’d rather do the hitting in the legs.”

(Was Petersen open to it right away? What was your pitch?) “He was open to it. I was like, at first I was kind of joking about it, like ‘What about me at running back?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, we’ll take it into consideration.'”

(If it’s up to you, would you prefer some more reps with the backs?) “Yeah. Hopefully I get some reps during team (drills). … But whenever they throw me in.”

(What’s it like with this new staff?) “There’s a lot of attention to detail — the littlest things you gotta stay focused into and locked into. And that’s what I like, being disciplined and coachable.”

(Anything specific?) “There are some things that last year I didn’t pay attention to. Now, this time, I’m really locked into the fundamentals. That’s the biggest thing. Staying low as linebacker, getting great posture, stance, playing downhill and doing everything fast.”

(Any tips you’ve gotten from the running backs?) “No. It’s basically just like linebacker, except you’re getting the ball. You gotta stay low, you gotta come out of your break fast, you gotta do everything hard.”

(Did it feel natural back there?) “It felt a little bit natural.”

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