Senior cornerback Greg Ducre might be the fastest player on the Washington Huskies football team. He hopes to be a starter again next season.
Seattle might be known at the professional level for cornerbacks who aren’t shy about touting their ability.
Defensive back Greg Ducre of the University of Washington takes a more serene approach.
“I’m not too verbal with leading,” he said. “I just want to lead by example.”
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When pressed on whether he’s the fastest player on the team, however, Ducre can’t help it.
“I would like to say I am, yes,” he said.
He spent the winter with the Washington indoor track and field team, finishing second in the 60-meter dash at the season-concluding Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships, with a time of 6.81 seconds.
Now the question is whether Ducre can win the race to replace Desmond Trufant as one of Washington’s starting cornerbacks.
The Huskies lose only five full-time starters from a year ago, and the departure of Trufant — who could be a first-round pick in next month’s NFL draft — looms largest. Trufant was UW’s only All-Pac-12 pick last season, each week handed the assignment of the opponent’s best receiver, and a key reason the Huskies finished 27th in the nation in pass-efficiency defense.
“Anytime you lose a guy of that caliber, it’s not easy to replace him,” said UW defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox. “But that’s where the next guy has got to step up.”
Marcus Peters, a sophomore to be, emerged as the starter opposite Trufant last season and appears ticketed to start again in 2013.
As spring practice began this week, Ducre, who will be a senior, was the starter on the other side.
He has had that role before, starting six games in 2011. But he lost his starting spot last year when Peters and Tre Watson emerged, starting just once in 2012.
“Consistency has been his thing,” Wilcox said. “So he’s got to continue to work on that.”
Said Ducre: “It was just trusting myself, really, and trusting my technique and building my confidence more.”
Running track might have helped. He had never participated in indoor track before and says, “I was amazed by my time.”
Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian agrees that the track success could help Ducre on the football field.
“We have always known he is fast,” Sarkisian said, adding it might help Ducre “to have the confidence in his speed and believe in his speed that he can run with anybody to maybe play a little tighter coverage, and to know that it is going to take somebody really special to try to run by him.”
Washington lost free safety Justin Glenn to graduation, and Wilcox said the departures of Glenn and Trufant will have the Huskies searching for the right combination in the secondary.
“The secondary in general, there is really not a depth chart,” Wilcox said. “(Senior strong safety) Sean Parker is kind of the only guy right now who has solidified himself as a starter. The rest of the guys, they are going to run with the (starting unit) and run with the (backups) and we are going to see how they (play). And it’s not going to be done after spring ball. It’s going to go into fall camp.”
Washington signed three cornerbacks last month, led by touted Jermaine Kelly of Los Angeles, with the expectation that any or all could get playing time this season.
Ducre said he hopes to be at the front of the pack.
“You know you have to wait for your time,” he said. “And I feel like this is my time, so I just want to continue to do everything right and just play hard.”
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org