Thursday, July 31, 2008

Donald Thomas interview transcript

Here's the transcript of an interview with Donald Thomas and the Miami media conducted Wednesday after practice with the Dolphins, courtesy of SportsTicker.

On the challenge of going up against veterans on the defense like LB Joey Porter and DT Jason Ferguson) – “It definitely gets you nervous when you see them out there talking up a storm and everything like that. When you get out there, you just play football. You don’t try to think about that. You just try to do what you have to do within the play and within the scheme of the offense and just try to help out as much as possible. But going against those guys, knowing what kind of a reputation they do have, definitely is intimidating at times.”

(On picking up the scheme) -- “I think it’s more of tough love. They just tell me to have high expectations for yourself. The scheme, somewhat is what I’m familiar with at UConn from previous years. It definitely is a lot to learn within the scheme because it’s a lot more complicated. I think I’m picking it up kind of smoothly, but I still have a long way to go.”

(On trying to prove himself and moving practice into the bubble) -- “I really have no control over it. I just have to make the best out of the situation that I’m in each time I come out of the practice field. Whether we’re inside or outside, I just have to go out there and compete.”

(On what Head Coach Tony Sparano means when he says he makes himself “heavy” and hard to move) -- “Just trying to play as strong as possible all the time. I put myself in the best situation that I can. Basically, listen to coach (Mike) Maser, my offensive line coach, and him giving me the proper fundamentals and techniques that puts me in the position to be that way.”

(On the area in which he has made the biggest improvement since the start of camp) -- “I think my run blocking was a big concern for me but with the techniques I’ve been learning, it’s definitely made it a little bit easier and I still have a long way to go in the run blocking. Also, with pass protection, I have to move my feet a lot more. They’re a lot faster at this level then they are in college. I’m just trying to adjust to the speed of the pass rusher, so moving my feet is a big thing also in pass protection.”

(On if T Vernon Carey has been giving him any advice) -- “All the time. He’s told me to set off the ball a lot more. When I’m up too close, sometimes the defenders can get a jump on me. Make sure that in certain situations you have to know what it is. You have to know if you have to get out of your stance quicker on third and long because they are really going to be putting their ears back and coming. Just listening to Vernon , Vernon knows what he’s talking about. Samson’s (Satele) been out there for a year. Justin (Smiley) has been in this, this has been his fifth year and Jake’s (Long) a great player. Just listen to all of those guys. Then you have the guys behind you that have played before, too. Everyone around me has been giving me tips and really helping me out.”

(On G Justin Smiley being his roommate in camp) -- “When I found out it was the biggest relief knowing that Justin, a five year vet, was my roommate. He can help me out with, the “camp blues” so to say. Coming back to the room, thinking the world’s going to end because you had a bad day of practice. He reassures you. Having Justin is just great.”

SPARANO quote on Thomas
(On is Donald Thomas ahead at right guard or is he continuing to flip new guys in at that position)
– “Right now you have right side and left side, and with a young guy you’re trying to keep them on a side right now as opposed to starting to flip them early on. At the same time Donald is a big, strong kid that’s athletic. When you watch him out there, I know coming off the field yesterday, a couple of our defensive players thought ‘He’s really heavy.’ And when a defensive player says ‘Really heavy,’ he doesn’t mean heavy in size, he means in heavy when he hits you, and when he leans on you and those are good qualities to have in offensive lineman when they’re big and they play big. That was encouraging. It was good to get him out there and let him compete against some of the first team players out there and see how he responds. As we’ve said before we’ll keep moving them around until we find the right five.”


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