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Mr. All-Purpose

Ty Montgomery wants to do it all.

Photo: Stephen Brashear

STRONG-ARMED: Montgomery plowed through three defenders to score in Stanford's 20-13 win over Washington.

TY MONTGOMERY can't do everything. But he's willing to try.

Fast enough to outrun defenders and strong enough to run through them, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior is one of college football's category smashers: an all-purpose star. He amasses yards and touchdowns primarily as a receiver, but also as a runner, kickoff returner and punt returner.

As versatile as Montgomery has been, he's intrigued about what more he might contribute. "If you love something the way I say I love football, that encompasses everything," he explains. "I'm trying not to get too deep here, but if I say I love football, that means I love everything about it. If they wanted me to punt the ball, I'd practice learning how to punt. I'll pass block, I'll run block. I'll literally do whatever I have to do because I feel like this is just a wonderful gift that God has blessed me with."

The coaching staff is intent on getting the ball into Montgomery's hands as much as makes sense in any particular game. That's difficult when opposing defenses gear up for him, as was obvious early in the season. But the threat he represents is an asset because it diverts attention that might be exploited elsewhere. And his stats remain impressive despite teams' attempts to limit his impact.

Through the first four games (in which Stanford went 3-1), Montgomery averaged more than 10 yards per catch, went 60 yards for a touchdown on his first ever punt return and averaged almost 30 yards per runback on five kickoff returns. He had three receiving touchdowns, plus one rushing, for a total of five. All accomplished with composure on and off the field, particularly when reflecting on the discouraging 13-10 loss to USC in the Pac-12 opener.

"I read in a book," he notes, "that pressure's pretty much a state of mind." The alternative is resilience. Yes, defeats are deeply felt and heads get down. The trick, says the preseason All American, is being "the ones who pick their heads up faster."

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