JaMarcus Shephard is like no other football coach you will encounter in Montlake.
Oh, there has been the crazy University of Washington assistant or coordinator before him, that amped-up guy such as the late Jim Lambright, who might have stuck his nose into a University of Washington drill and emerged a little bloodied.
Shephard is the Huskies' new receivers coach and a man with the strong belief in bringing a self-participatory approach to the job.
He's the grown man often seen in a full sprint, running alongside his much younger players, providing a running commentary as they go.
Who needs film study when you have Shephard, in lock step with you, critiquing each play in real time?
He has a totally unique style that will last as long as he is physically able to keep up.
"I pride myself in trying to show them the technique that they would potentially see from the defensive backs, but also, you know, helping them and showing them the technique I want them to run," Shephard said. "I'll spend the extra time actually running it, though I've got to get in better shape."
Everything seems to be working so far for this Indiana native who came to the Huskies from Purdue as part of Kalen DeBoer's new staff. Unlike his other coaching newcomers, he had the added challenge of replacing the coach the players least wanted to see leave — Junior Adams, now at Oregon.
Shephard, a small-college All-America receiver at DePauw, is the guy whose voice can be heard above all other coaches, whose distinctive cackle reverberates through Husky Stadium much like the always prevalent swirling wind.
He gets so close to each player, you have to ask him if he's ever bumped into one of them by accident.
"No," he responded, before reconsidering. "Well, probably yes."
On a daily basis, he covers more ground on the Astroturf than any of his UW pass-catchers, so full of boundless energy. His Husky players say they appreciate his close-quarters devotion to them. He says he can't keep it up forever.
"The guys I think appreciate the fact that I'm not just telling them but showing them techniques I want them to use," Shephard said. "I try to run those releases and show them how it's done, but I'm starting to get a little older and losing a step."
Of course, that's debatable.
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