Move over, Myles Jack?
New Washington coach Chris Petersen experimented in spring practice with standout linebacker Shaq Thompson as a running back, but in the preseason, it hasn't been altogether clear whether the junior would actually have a role in the offensive backfield in meaningful games this fall.
Washington running backs coach Keith Bhonapha hinted Tuesday, however, that the experiment will get a field test of some kind.
"Shaq is going to be an interesting guy for us, just keeping him warm, keeping him in the mix," Bhonapha said, according to the Seattle Times. "As we move forward, we'll kind of feel where the need is for him -- defensively and offensively."
Make no mistake, Thompson will primarily operate as a linebacker this fall, where he ranked second on the team in tackles as a sophomore last season with 78. But he has given the UW staff something to think about since March, when he rumbled for 106 yards on just three carries in a spring scrimmage. With UCLA's Jack reportedly moving away from the two-way role he flourished in last year to focus on just playing linebacker, Thompson just might fill Jack's void as the Pac-12's most notable two-way man.
Bhonapha is working with four full-time running backs, including two seniors. As such, Thompson isn't about to be given too heavy an offensive load; just as Jack was primarily a linebacker in his two-way efforts last year at UCLA. But with a new head coach in charge and an NFL-caliber rusher to replace in Tennessee Titans rookie Bishop Sankey, the Huskies' staff is keeping options available.