April 8, 2011
On spring practice so far:
Jermaine Thomas: It’s going really well. You know, just happy to be back out there with the team and all the guys, just missing some of the jokes and laughs, the things that you’re used to hearing and just out there competing with all the running backs and things that we have now. It’s just been fun for me, it’s been motivating.
You all are pretty loaded at running back right now. I know Chris (Thompson) is out for the spring, but you got a guy like Devonta (Freeman), a guy like (James) Wilder coming in, you guys have a number of different options in the backfield this year.
Jermaine Thomas: Yes sir. It’s just all of us getting all that talent and all of us battling it out, that’s the exciting part. We just try to keep that high intensity going and always helping each other out as well.
How has the past few months been for you, having the off the field issues and finally just coming back to play football?
Jermaine Thomas: That was one big devastating process that I did go through; it was definitely an eye opener. With the help of my coaches and my family, making sure I stay positive, which was how I got back. It really helped. Everything that I went through kind of put a chip on my shoulder and I’m out there kind of letting it all out on the field.
You have been away from the program. It’s not like you were participating in a lot of the practices or the offseason conditioning, you were focusing on school and getting your life back together.
Jermaine Thomas: Yes sir and that was like one of the hard parts for me because it was something I loved. Just seeing the possibilities of it being taken away and not thinking about going back to my regular life kind of made me figure out that this is what I need to do and make sure that I take everything way more serious than I probably thought I was taking. So football and me coming back, it’s kind of centered in me and I just want to make sure I take advantage of every opportunity that I get now.
Now that you are playing again, is it hard to still maintain the same focus?
Jermaine Thomas: Yeah, I mean I’m locked in on the school work and balancing the football as well. [My academic advisor] has really helped me as well too, just to keep me on track and that we’re still going on the same page, still doing good out there producing and making progress on the field.”
Can you tell maybe from being away, have you missed a beat or are you still in the same kind of condition that you were towards the middle part of last year?
Jermaine Thomas: I would say the same condition, probably a little down. But as for getting through practice, no MA’s and just working on my technique and things like that, I think those are some of the things that stuck with me and stayed with me, but just trying to get better at them.
Right now you don’t have your offensive line fully together, how tough has it been running behind them?
Jermaine Thomas: I mean that’s why it’s understandable, so just knowing that kind of already takes the stress level down. Just knowing that in this play or that play there might be a free guy because the line they haven’t been together with each other like that and still have some things they might have to work on with each other. We just try to encourage them and let them know that [they’re] all right and we’re still behind [them], we’re going to run right in between the same tackles and just making stuff, things like that. You know they take heed to it and make them want to block better and take the steps and things like that. All of us running backs, we all know that as well. We don’t fault them at all.”
Can you tell that your team is making progress right now? Because in the spring you never know what you’re going to get, you don’t know how good you’re going to be. But can you tell if maybe your team is taking the next step in the right direction?
Jermaine Thomas: Definitely; in a sense because you know sometimes we have bad practice, sometimes we have good practice, sometimes the offense wins, sometimes the defense wins. Just being on the offense side of the ball, watching film, you just see the progress of certain players, certain guys and different positions taking the next step and really taking advantage of the spring football.