Anyone learning the game of college football under Phil Snow knows life isn’t always easy. For Clarence “Dre” Simpson, that’s just half the battle.
The other half is letting the world know which name he prefers to go by.
“Dre,” Simpson said before the second of two practices Monday. “It’s more comfortable.”
Clarence, however, is his grandfather’s name and one he’s in no hurry to erase from the football roster.
Some day Simpson hopes that Husky fans will grow to know his preferred first name not by what he says, but what he does on the field.
At 6-foot-2, the well spoken athlete appears capable of playing on either side of the ball. He did so in high school, as most Division-I athletes do, and originally was recruited to Washington as a receiver. It wasn’t until the Husky coaches evaluated his tape a little further that they determined Simpson’s talents would be better suited on defense, at cornerback.
Simpson’s height at the cornerback position is a rare commodity for a team that has had only a handful of tall corners over the past 15 years – Dana Hall and Omare Lowe are two that come to mind.
The freshman from Sylmar, Calif., a city 10 miles north of Los Angeles, sees that as one of his strengths heading into the season, and hopes it will translate into success on the field.
“I’m definitely a more defensive guy, I like hitting,” Simpson said. “I can cover people.
“I take covering personally and I don’t like getting beat. I can come up and hit also.”
Plenty of learning still has to be absorbed before Simpson will be thrown onto the field in a game situation, but with coach Snow and a trio of experienced corners in front of him to teach him the ways, it’s only a matter of time before the freshman becomes comfortable with his surroundings.
So far, camp has gone almost exactly as Simpson had imagined.
“I knew it’d be hard work,” he said, “and that’s basically what it’s been this last week.”
Snow’s intense nature and refusal to accept failure has put an early imprint into the young corner’s mind.
“He brings out the best in you,” said Simpson of his position coach. “I think that’s what I like about him the most.
“He really works with us and he wants perfection, so I’m glad he’s getting us that way. That’s what I want.”