See full coverage of The Game at yaledailynews.com/thegame13 and follow live updates @yaledailynews and @YDNSports with #TheGame13.
Fans watching The Game tomorrow may think that they are seeing double when they look at the Yale sideline, but they are actually looking at nearly-identical twins Derrek Ross ’16 and Dustin Ross ’16, who both play offensive line for Yale. The News sat down with the duo to talk about playing together as brothers and Bulldogs.
Q: What is the biggest advantage of having a twin on the team with you?
Derrek: I think the best part was coming into Yale, being able to have someone you already know coming here. Especially in football, two or three weeks before school even starts, we don’t really get the chance to go to the freshman events to meet that many freshmen, so it’s really nice to have someone there for you to go through the process with you.
Dustin: Definitely what Derrek said. We come in early and we don’t really know a lot of people. We don’t get a lot of interaction during the season because we’re so busy with school and football. It’s nice to have somebody that you can rely on that you know has your back. When you first get to camp, it’s some of the hardest times of the season, so it was really nice to have someone to share those experiences with when things got tough.
Q. How are you similar and different as players?
Dustin: I play right guard and he plays left. In high school I was the right tackle and he was the right guard, so we played right next to each other.
Derrek: It’s a little different coming here, and not playing next to him, but I think it’s worked out all right for us.
Dustin: In terms of playing styles, we’re pretty similar. We were raised in the same kind of football system. Some little things are just little differences in technique sometimes.
Derrek: It’d actually be interesting to ask our coach and see if he notices anything different between us. I don’t see that much [difference] in practice but you never know.
Q. Can the players and coaches tell you apart?
Derrek: Luckily we have numbers. Sometimes that doesn’t work and they still forget.
Dustin: Coming into the school year last year when we were freshmen, nobody had any idea. Our coaches had no clue. There were a few guys on the football team who picked it up just like that, but the majority of people can’t tell us apart until they’ve known us pretty well for a few months.
Derrek: We get called “Ross” more than anything
Q. How long have you been playing together? Did you always play on the same team?
Derrek: Always. Every sport. Basketball, football, soccer. We started football in the second grade.
Q. Before Yale, how did you support each other as football players?
Derrek: It’s always nice having someone to lift with, especially in the offseason. All our numbers are pretty identical, so that just drives us to beat the other [one]. It definitely makes everything a competition.
Dustin: Since we’ve been born, we’ve been competing against each other in every facet of our life. If he gets higher on the bench press than me one day, the next day I’m going to be struggling to beat him the next time.
Q. Did you always plan to play for the same school?
Dustin: We didn’t really have a preference on playing together in college. We always thought it’d be cool to do and that it’d be nice to have a twin on the team, but our parents really pushed us into that rather than us pushing ourselves into that position. It’s definitely easier on them, too, because they don’t have to decide whose game to go to.
Derek: Especially being from Cincinatti, it’s a 12-hour drive from home. It’s not an easy trip to make.
Q. How much time do you spend together?
Derek: Ridiculous amounts.
Dustin: Way too much time. Especially now. In high school, we would have different class schedules.
Derrek:We’re both doing economics, so we end up taking a lot of the same classes. And we live together. Last year we were in a double together, which was not ideal. But now we’re both in singles which is nice.
Q. Are there any disadvantages to having a twin on the team?
Derrek: I’ve been a little more shy because I have a twin. I’m not as outgoing as I’d like to be because I always have someone to go to instead of branching out. In all of my classes, I always sit next to him. I’m not anti-social, but I’m not as inclined to go out and meet new people.
Dustin: It may be hard to differentiate ourselves to coaches. You only get moments to see players. It’s not like they go through and break down everybody and go through their individual plays, you just get a general sense of how they’re playing. Since we play the same and do the same things, it’s hard to differentiate yourself.
Derrek: I’m sure it’s hard for our coach to say who’s better. He sees us both not as individuals so much, more as one player. It’s also obviously difficult being with someone all the time. It’s like you’re married to yourself. We do get in fights a lot.