Ross deals with two-sport challenge

The effort, stamina, and time-management skills required to be a Sun Devil athlete are anything but stress-free. Committing enough time to practice while also staying on top of your studies leaves little, if any, time for a social life. Now imagine being a dual athlete of both football and track for Arizona State, such as senior wide receiver Rashad Ross.

"It's very difficult to balance both football and track." Ross stated after today's practice. "I'm always tired, real tired. All I have time for is homework, track, football and sleep. I have absolutely no time for anything else. I don't go to the movies, or do anything else extra.

"Everyday, I go to track practice, just with the track coach because I work out by myself with him, then I go back to class, and after that I have football practice. On the days I don't have class my time is spent in study hall, doing homework. It's exhausting."

Although extremely tiresome and undoubtedly overwhelming at times, Ross stands by his decision to participate in both sports.

"When I first came in, Coach Erickson said I could do both. So that's one of the reasons why I signed with Arizona State in the first place. We all had to sit down together and figure out how everything was going to work as far as scheduling and stuff."

More than happy with his accomplishments thus far on the track, Ross received first place in the Pac-12 in the 200 meters with a remarkable time of 21.13 seconds. This past weekend in the Sun Angel Classic, Ross was part of the 4x100 meter which finished first with a time of 39.12. Ross added that he has plans for competing later this spring in the 100 meters as well.

"I'm not really surprised with how well I've done in track so far," Ross claimed. "I am a little surprised though that I got first in the 200 meter in the Pac-12 by just coming onto the team with only football training. But I wasn't surprised about my 4x100 team and how well we've done. Everyone on the team is really good, so there were no surprises there."

When asked the obvious question about which sport he would pick if he were only allowed to participate in one, Ross answered immediately. "Football. If I had to choose between the two, I would pick football. I've played football all my life, but I'm pretty new to track.

"My goal is to make it to the NFL for sure. If for some reason that doesn't happen, track is definitely my second choice, looking into the 2016 Olympics. You know, I'm not putting in all of this work for no reason."

Football definitely seems as a good choice for this young athlete, as he has shown a lot of potential as a wide receiver. Ross transferred from a Butte Junior College last year, finishing the 2011 season on a strong note. In the last seven games of the season he caught sixteen of his eighteen passes and scored a 98-yard kickoff return against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

P Coming into this season with high expectations, Ross has been slightly concerned with his performance thus far in spring practice.

"I would rate my performance in practice so far with a ‘C'. I haven't done anything yet to deserve a better grade," Ross admitted. "I think there is a whole lot expected from me. I think one of the main reasons I rated myself with a ‘C' so far this season, is because I haven't been able to reach those expectations as both a player and a leader. I'm just not meeting my expectations and it is really frustrating."

Aside from being disappointed with his personal performance, Ross is also contending, much like his teammates with a new offensive system being employed by first-year Head Coach Todd Graham and his staff.

"The scheme is really different," Ross commented. "This year we've done a lot more passing, which as a receiver, I really like. We're also doing a lot more running this year. All the running can make it hard to get the ball sometimes.

"Running, and switching around into different formations has been pretty difficult. Last year in formations we would stay on one side, and it was easier for us to get set. Now we're running around, watching the play, and then running somewhere else. It can get pretty confusing."

Looking to the future, Ross hopes that his participation in track will help him out on the football field, as he tries to continue and balance both sports successfully and progress in both.

"My goals this spring are to just take things day by day and try to improve everyday," Ross said. "I'm not going to overwork myself though because then I'll just get too stressed out and overwhelmed with everything."

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