Athleticism prepares Ward for move to WR


Sophomore Greg Ward is one of the most athletic and dynamic players on the team who will play receiver when the season starts, yet is expected to carve opposing teams’ defenses by rushing, throwing and returning punts, too. | Justin Tijerina/ The Daily Cougar

As a freshman, Greg Ward would line up for quarterback drills, make a couple of throws and then quickly jog to line up as a receiver.

Playing a different position wasn’t anything new to him. In his football career, he’s played multiple positions, including quarterback, safety and cornerback, because of his speed and athleticism — traits that the program feels the make the offense more versatile when Ward is on the field.

“He’s just so natural and is one of the best athletes in the program,” said head coach Tony Levine. “He does things that you can’t teach or coach. He’s got some God-given ability.”

Ward occasionally played receiver — a position in which he had little experience — last season, but he has played full-time this spring. He had just one catch for 35 yards in Friday’s annual Red and White spring game at Carl Lewis Field, though he played only a couple of series.

“I’ve grown up in every position, so it just comes natural to me,” Ward said. “Anything I can do to help the team, I’m happy by doing that. Wherever they need me at, I can’t just be good — I got to be great.”

Levine said he expects Ward to be one of the four receivers at the position when the season begins but will still look for creative ways to get the ball in his hand, whether it’s throwing it, handing it, snapping it or allowing the other team to punt it to him.

Last season, Ward threw for 310 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown, caught 10 balls for 95 yards and a touchdown and became the first Cougar since 2007 to throw, catch and receive a score in the same season since 2007.

“I’m just going to do the best at everything I do. It’s more mental than physical,” Ward said. “Knowing that I’m going to be playing different positions, I’ve got to get my mind right and come with a great mindset that I’m going to be great at it.”

Junior receiver Deontay Greenberry said Ward is getting more comfortable at the position, and Greenberry expects him to be ready before the Cougars’ first game.

He’s not a freshman anymore. I can’t say he’s a big boy now, because he played with the big boys last year,” Greenberry said. “He got another year under his belt. He’s just got to mature and keep getting better until the season gets here.”


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