Oct. 19, 2006

Q. What have the last couple weeks been like, just having to sit by and watch, and I know Coach Weis has said that you’ve been able to run around, but when it comes to contact it’s obviously different.

Travis Thomas: Just taking things day by day. You know, just try to stay in tune with the game plan mentally, going through your mental reps even though there’s minimal contact. It’s tough. You’re used to being out there and then you’re limited. So just try to stay focused and go through the like you’re in there.

Q. The injury occurred against Michigan State. Can you relate what happened? I know it happened real late in the game and I don’t think most of us really realized the extent of it at that time.

Travis Thomas: It was the last play of the game and I just took a shot in the rear and that’s that. It’s a physical game, things happen and, you know, some things, you can’t protect yourself against shots you don’t see.

Q. You’ve been able to run around, it’s just contact with that area?

Travis Thomas: Yeah, it’s just something you have to take precaution with and that’s what we did. I’m healing now. Things are good.

Q. Did you go home for the bye week?

Travis Thomas: Yeah, I got to go home. A lot of guys went home. Just went home, rested, get some home?cooked meals and just enjoyed my time.

Q. When you have a situation like that, do you watch a lot of football or do you get away from it completely?

Travis Thomas: I definitely watch a lot of football. It’s definitely hard to not watch football especially considering you can’t be in there. I actually watched a bit more than I would normally.

Q. Everybody is weighing in on the Miami/Florida game, did you see that and what were your thoughts when you saw that?

Travis Thomas: You know, football is an emotional sport, and a lot of times, emotions get the best of you. Obviously, you know, some of the things that happened in that brawl shouldn’t happen. I thought it was pretty bad and it almost got to that situation with us in the Michigan State game. Fortunately, Miami, all of the guys got suspended and whatnot. It’s an emotional game and things happen.

Q. When that happened against Michigan State, were you in the midst of it all? You couldn’t help but be in the midst of all?

Travis Thomas: It wasn’t throwing helmets. I was just trying to break things up and keeping everybody back and separated.

Q. When you’re watching football, do you start thinking about where Notre Dame is in the mix of things, do you look at the BCS standings at all?

Travis Thomas: I glanced at it. I think the BCS, we’re still No. 9, No. 8, somewhere around there. We haven’t played, so we haven’t had a chance to upgrade our status. So we remain fairly consistent there.

Like I said, you know, playing will take care of that stuff. So you know, the better we play in the upcoming weeks, the higher we’ll go obviously.

Q. Do you think at all, you’re probably going to be favoured in the next five games, do you think at all that winning by three points against some of the teams might not be enough to impress voters and computers? Do you think about the fact that you need to look impressive when you win games?

Travis Thomas: We always want to go out and put on our best performance every time we go out on the field. But the ultimate goal is to get the win. Whenever we can do that and establish a win, we’re happy. So the goal is to win.

Q. Talk a little about Laws and Landry, what do they do that make them such a strong pair, what are their strengths?

Travis Thomas: Their strengths are they are very physical. They get great snaps off the ball. They have good technique and they help us out as linebackers in the box. They kind of hold those linemen up for us and give us a chance to read things and fill us out. That’s something they do real well.

Q. Whenever Coach gets asked about one of them, he always talks about them as a pair. Seems to me that they play similar, off the field are they pretty different as far as personalities?

Travis Thomas: They are pretty similar. I mean, they are clowns. We have a lot of those guys on the team, fun guys to be around, great personality. I think that carries over on the field to when things are going bad, they kind of keep everyone’s spirits up. It’s like a tactic in the wrestling match, can’t have one without the other.

Q. The thing I’ve heard about Trevor is he’s a bit of a hippie, is Derek a free spirit like that, too?

Travis Thomas: He’s not as much of a hippie, you know, as would you say Trevor is, but they are pretty free?spirited, pretty laid back guys, pretty fun to be around.

Q. Were you rushing the quarterback in the game against Michigan State?

Travis Thomas: I tried to see the punt off of his route and I couldn’t see, it was contained, and you can’t protect yourself against things you don’t see.

Q. This week you’re playing a new quarterback, a freshman, a rookie. What keys will you be looking at in terms of snap count to get advantage on the ball; it seems like they are at a disadvantage?

Travis Thomas: You know, we’re going to key on a lot of things, look at the tight ends, the line, if that’s what your keys are. I don’t think anything changes with a backup quarterback in there. He’s played well in his role.

Q. The center, for example, is calling the signals, will that change the way you look into the line then?

Travis Thomas: No.

Q. Was there talk about whether you are going to come back next year for the fifth year; is that something you’ve contemplated?

Travis Thomas: That’s something we’re talking about and that’s something I’m thinking about often. Depends how the next six games go. If they go well for me, I’ll look at my status on the draft board, I may consider leaving. It’s all up in the air right now. That’s down the road. All I’m thinking about is this game coming up.

Q. Are you okay to graduate in May?

Travis Thomas: I’ll graduate next semester, May.

Q. Can you talk a little about what you see in other tight ends and about Paulson, what you have to be aware of with him?

Travis Thomas: Paulson is a real good blocker. He has good hands, also. I mean, they do a lot of things with him. So I mean you’re just going to have to be patient and read your keys real well because they have a great tight ends.

Q. And Marquis (ph) in the backfield has been able to catch some passes, what do you have to do specifically to keep an eye on him?

Travis Thomas: I just have to be patient. I have to read from the backs where they are going. If they go to a particular direction, I’ll shift my eyes to the tight end or whatnot and it may be vice versa. I just have to read my keys and be patient this week.

Q. One of their freshman running backs, Molina, he touched the ball twice against Stanford and both were touchdowns with the red zone. Are you surprised they have a freshman and that they gave the ball in that pressure situation in the red zone?

Travis Thomas: I’m not surprised if he shows that ability in those type of situations. As a coach, if you see a guy like that that can produce, why not give him the ball.

Q. As far as the running backs, what do you see as their strength?

Travis Thomas: They are a good team. They have a good, solid runner in Mackey and do a lot of power plays. We have to be physical, and our goal every week is to stop the run and we’re going to try to do that this week as well.

Q. With Munir and Aldrige in for you, has that — are you still practicing with the offense?

Travis Thomas: I’m still in my normal routine. They are obviously healthy and getting reps, too. We’ll play along with it as the game goes on, and whatever happens, we’ll just roll with it.