Oct. 26, 2006
Q. I’ve talked to Coach Weis about this and Coach Minter. I just wonder what the learning process has been like for you here. Not only have you had to learn to go from offense to defense but especially you throw in the fact that maybe their style of offense ?? it’s got to be a crash course for you.
Travis Thomas: I told everybody I bring my pen and pad every day because it’s something new. I never know what to expect. It’s been crazy from going inside the box playing Will to Sam and possibly playing an inverted, possible like dropdown safety look, I mean, running back, remembering all the things I previously learned, so it’s something new every day it seems.
Q. Is it almost like you don’t know what you don’t know? I mean, you know what I’m saying?
Travis Thomas: Right, I mean, I guess they just throw me out there and see what I can do. It shows I’m versatile. The only way to find out is to throw me out there, I guess.
Q. You just didn’t suddenly get exposed to the Navy’s offense this week. Was that something that was covered in training camp at some point?
Travis Thomas: We briefly went over it on the bye just to give a glimpse to the defense.
Q. And at training camp at all?
Travis Thomas: At training camp I don’t remember doing anything.
Q. Like the early opponents, you touched ??
Travis Thomas: We touched upon everybody pretty much.
Q. You probably never did learn what the keys were for a Will linebacker against this offense. What are the keys for a Sam linebacker?
Travis Thomas: Well, me playing on the outside, I’m probably going to be the guy that they’re primarily going to option off of. So it’s just trying to maintain my leverage on the quarterback and a lot of defense to rally to the ball, so that’s going to be my job this week.
Q. How do you like outside linebacker? You’re a little bit more of a pass rushing threat out there. A lot of times you’re on the same side as Victor.
Travis Thomas: The action is a little different. I find myself chasing down things from the backside a lot more. I don’t feel like I’m really at the point of attack as far as the running game like I was at Will.
It’s a little different unless you’re kind of like a power or sweep type of thing. So it’s a little different. I mean, it’s good playing in space. It’s a change.
Q. Is it a little frustrating that you’re kind of isolated on one side whereas at Will you’re in the middle of the action a little bit more?
Travis Thomas: It can be because you’re primarily the target of the tight end on that side or the tackle feeling out the block. You always have someone on you immediately. It’s a lot of different technique work and things like that.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what you’ve done as far as prepare for 60 minutes of just pure physical football?
Travis Thomas: I haven’t done anything different from what I’ve done in the past. I mean, I practice, weight train, I do my studies of film work. It’s nothing different, it’s just a new position.
Q. As special teams captain, what have you guys been working on this week to really improve punt returns along with the defense?
Travis Thomas: We’ve been working on our return game as a whole, punt return and kickoff return. That’s something that we felt needed improvement in that area, so that’s been a main point of emphasis.
Q. Every time you guys have to go against Navy, it comes around every year, they’re completely different than anybody else that you’ve faced. Is there any kind of ?? do you guys get a little bit more excited as a defense because this is something totally different? You’re not going to run just cover two all day, just a totally different defensive scheme? Does that give you extra motivation?
Travis Thomas: I don’t think anyone gets excited to play Navy because it’s so bizarre, so unlike anything you usually see. But we do look forward to playing them because it’s something new and it gives a chance ?? they’re going to rack up a lot of tackles because they love to run the ball so much.
Q. Is it difficult to have the mentality, they might get five yards in a rushing attempt and that might be a good defensive play by you guys? Is there a different mentality of we need to let them get their little bites but key on 3rd and short, things like that?
Travis Thomas: Right. We have a mentality on defense where we obviously know they’re going to have plays. I mean, they make plays every week. Our thing is to contain them, just play a fundamentally sound game. I mean, that’s the way to defeat this offense.
Q. Are you a little bit more concerned when you’re playing Navy about cut blocks? They’ve got to do some things to compensate for lack of size. I would think that that would not necessarily put a little fear in your mind but something that you’re a little skeptical of?
Travis Thomas: We’ve run practice on that a lot this week. We’re going to be real conscious of our knees obviously; on every play you’re cutting.
You’re just going to be to have aware of where they are at all times.
Q. You as a running back, are those days over or are you still working on that?
Travis Thomas: I hope not. You know, it’s a week?by?week thing. Maybe I’ll get some repetition this week. I didn’t last week. It could have been for one reason or another, but it’s a game time thing so we’ll see.
Q. I think it was last week we asked about you coming back for a fifth year and you said it depends on where you might be in the draft and what have you. Now that you’ve made the transition to linebacker, do you know where your future is? If you have a future in the NFL do you know which side of the ball it’s on, and would that play a factor in your decision to come back? What I mean by that is if you see yourself as a running back on the next level but you’re not going to be brought back and have an opportunity to play running back, will that have any ??
Travis Thomas: I have no clue what I’m being looked at possibly for. Special teams has been a niche of mine, so maybe at the next level I’m obviously going to have a role there. You know, the object is just to get there.
So the fifth year, like I said, that’s going to take care of itself once the season ends. Coach and I will meet, but it’s not a concern of mine right now.
Q. So you wouldn’t care which side of the ball you played on on the next level?
Travis Thomas: No, it’s just getting there. You know, it’s a goal of mine, it’s a dream of mine and something I’m working towards.