By Brent Stecker
If his spring practice workload is any indication, John Ross is going to be all over the field for the Huskies in 2014.
John Ross, primarily a kick returner in 2013, will figure in more at receiver and even defensive back in 2014. (AP)
Washington’s speedy sophomore made a name for himself as one of the team’s primary return men in 2013, but he figures to also be a big part of the passing game as a receiver in head coach Chris Petersen’s offense in 2014. And as if that wasn’t enough, his ability to play defensive back – which he did a few times last season – is still very much on the table.
Ross worked out at all three spots over the Huskies’ first week of spring practice (though his time on defense was brief), and even he’s surprised at how easily he’s taken to handling the multiple roles.
“I feel like after being a year in now, I kinda adjusted to (juggling three positions) faster than I thought I would,” Ross said after practice Saturday afternoon.
‘Faster’ is always the operative word with Ross, though it’s usually because of his lightning-quick foot speed, which is the reason why Washington is looking to use him in so many different ways. It’s also the reason behind the signature play of his UW career thus far, a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against BYU in the Huskies’ Fight Hunger Bowl victory.
In addition to seeing reps at each position, Ross is getting a little more attention at receiver, where it’s less crowded this spring as senior Kasen Williams continues to work his way back from a broken leg and sophomore Damore’ea Stringfellow is indefinitely suspended.
Similarly, the quarterback position is thinner for the Huskies than originally anticipated, as sophomore Cyler Miles was suspended at the same time as Stringfellow. As a result, sophomore Jeff Lindquist and redshirt freshman Troy Williams are getting a ton of snaps as the only two quarterbacks in action this spring.
“They’re fired up,” Ross said of the quarterbacks. “I love their energy. They come out every day and they’re just very excited to throw the ball to us, and they’re taking advantage of every opportunity.”
So is Ross.
He worked regularly with Lindquist and Williams last year, and his familiarity is allowing him to make the most of his chances.
“Last year I was always rotating in and out with those guys, so our chemistry level is just only getting better,” Ross said.
That chemistry, combined with Ross’ speed, should spell trouble for opposing defenses next season, as Ross explained.
“It’s getting dangerous.”