Christine gets the call

Greg Christine thought it was enough just to get the opportunity to show what he could do at Washington. Now it appears the Huskies need to see what the 6-foot-4, 275-pound walk-on from St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, Calif. has to offer from the get-go, as he has been invited to attend fall camp. Christine is already in Seattle attending summer school at Washington.

"Coach Tormey told me," Christine told "It was because Robert Lukevich is out for the rest of the season. You never like to see teammates get hurt, but for me it's a blessing in disguise."

Lukevich suffered a serious knee injury during a spring scrimmage, and he will be out the entire season. Enter Christine, who played thirteen-and-a-half games at center for the Bonnies last year. "I think they are having me play center," he said. "I talked to Yarbs (Eric Yarber) the other day and he told me I'll probably go to camp and when we go down the list we're probably only going to have one center on the depth chart. So we'll be going to camp, and you might be able to take that second-string spot."

Per NCAA rules, Division-1 teams can only have 105 participants for fall camp and then they can add the rest of their walk-on players the Monday following the first game of the season. That means there are 85 scholarshipped players and 20 invited walk-ons that get to take part in fall camp, so Christine will immediately join those walk-ons like spring standout Alex Mercier.

Christine is the kind of player that will play where needed, but admitted that center fits his personality. "I like to be in control," he said. "If I'm in the game, I want the ball in my hands. When I was younger and we would pick kids to play football, I would always pick the kids that weren't that good instead of the kids that were good so I could have the ball in my hands more. I could be the person that won the game. I think that just carried over."

Christine has been up in Seattle for three weeks now taking Astronomy 150. "It's been a nice transition from high school to college," he said, also noting that he's had a chance to check out the Emerald City and went to Gasworks for the giant 4th of July celebration there.

It sounds as if he's fully matriculated, and as such he would be able to work out and practice with the rest of his teammates, but he can't. At this point, he has to do everything by himself. "I had a meeting with Coach Willingham about it," Christine said. "He said it doesn't make sense to him that since I'm going to school that I should be able to work out. I guess it has to do with me not being a full-time student and it's also summer quarter. I could still transfer, so I guess that's what the deal is.

"I go and watch, but I can't participate. Coach (Trent) Greener gave me the summer workout plan and all that stuff, but I have to do all of it on my own. John (Morris), the compliance guy, talked to the NCAA and the Pac-10, and the Pac-10 said their interpretation was right. He said that it's really unfortunate that it's worked out this way, but it's only going to last for one more month. But I can't wait!"

His teammates are trying to get Christine adjusted to life as a freshman as best they can too. "A lot of them have been making fun of me," he said. "They said, 'You didn't take Juan's (Garcia) advice and enjoy your last summer'. They've been making fun of me about that. Stanley Daniels, we've been watching film and I've been talking to him a lot, so he's taken me under his wing. He's been explaining everything to me."

On Saturday, frosh linebacker Matt Houston will be arriving on campus, and will be Christine's roommate for the rest of the summer. And every once in a while, when Greg has some time to think about all that's gone on since he left California, it's hit him that he may have an opportunity to do something far beyond his initial expectations.

"A couple of nights ago I was sitting there and I just went, 'My gosh'," he said with a laugh. "I have a list of goals on my wall. I'm pretty optimistic when I write my goals, and a lot of them are coming true right now, so I just have to keep working at it."

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