Weber ready for double duty

Junior Thomas Weber, a 2007 Lou Groza Award recipient, will return to the Sun Devils this season once again ready to take on both the place-kicking and punting responsibilities. Having performed those tasks previously will greatly aid Weber as he enters the 2009 season.

"I definitely think I am more [used to the responsibilities] than I was before with just being more comfortable back there, having done it before," Weber stated. "I know what to expect, I know how to gauge how many kicks and not over kicking and then, like I said before, if I've got to do it, I've got to do it. I'm not going to sit there and say I'm not going to do it because whatever helps the team is what's best."

Even with two seasons under his belt, Weber still faces challenges on the field when attempting to perfect his game.

"Just staying consistent is the biggest thing," Weber explained. "It's a long season, just like any other position you have to stay on top of your game, you can't get lazy and you can't slack off during practice. You can't say ‘Oh, I had a good day this game', and then feel like you don't have to do anything. Everyone has to wants to get better, stay focused and wants to get to that next level."

Weber has learned his lesson from the disappointing 2008 season the Sun Devils experienced. The entire team struggled to perform and Weber was no exception. Learning and growing from the previous year has proven to be successful motivation to succeed this fall. Personally, Weber attributes the struggles of the last campaign to several things.

"I think it was definitely not being as focused as I should have been, maybe taking some things for granted," Weber admitted. "Not putting for the extra step that I should have during those certain games that I should have made kicks or during situations where it could have given us momentum. It could have changed the game and who knows what would have happened. Now I kind of look at it as something in the past, something to learn from but you definitely can't forget about something like that. You just have to learn from it."

Staying true to his word, Weber is prepared to come out and give this season his all. Coach Erickson has noted that Weber's field goal kicking and punting this season has been better than it has been in the last two years.

"I would definitely agree," Weber confirmed. "Coach Erickson has given me a lot of opportunities during camp and every practice to work on the whole field goal unit, the snap, hold, kick, during practice and just getting reps with that makes it a lot more comfortable and with punting just working a lot in the off season and for kicking all the stuff in the off season really helped as well as being a lot more focused." When it comes to the off season, Sun Devils put in time and hard work consistently. Weber practices frequently throughout the off season and specifically throughout the summer with fellow collegiate kickers honing his craft. Focusing on mechanics and technique, Weber spent most of his time doing what he loves, kicking the football.

"It was just a lot more kicking in general, getting out with snap," Weber said, "hold and kick at least three times a week during the summer and before and after spring to get familiar with the snapper and the holder. Also, going to California a couple of times to get some competition from other college kickers, I kicked with kickers from USC and UCLA and some guys I've met throughout my time kicking. There are guys from the NFL that I've kicked with, just picking their brains about what to do and work out with them helps a lot."

An already very accomplished kicker, Weber is determined to get better. Despite receiving the highest award for college kickers, the Lou Groza award after his freshman year, Weber uses it as motivation to improve his skills. The junior now finds himself in a position to repeat that honor after being placed on the 2009 Pre-Season Watch List.

"To be honest, I really try not to think about that," Weber claimed. "Going into every game I always try to think, every time I'm out there is a chance to put points on the board and I just want to make every opportunity count. Erickson talks about it all the time, you only get so many chances so every time you go out there you have to make sure you make it count. Don't get lazy during that time on that rep. Every rep has to be perfect."

Another idea Thomas hasn't put a lot of thought into is entering the NFL draft after the 2009 season.

"I think it's better not to think about that and not worry about it right now because it's really not something that I'm worried about," Weber commented. "I really want to stay in school and I couldn't imagine not being here for four years."

These days, Weber, along with his fellow teammates, cannot wait to take the field September 5th for his team's season opener.

"I'm really excited," he says. "Especially after a season like last season, it's a clean slate, it's anyone's game. Everyone is 0-0. I think our team has worked as hard as anybody during the off season. I think everybody is ready, everyone is ready to go and everyone is just ready to get out there and play another team."

As for his personal goals, Weber wants to focus on performing for his team.

"One big thing for me is that every time I go out there, you have that chance, and the chance for the team to get points too," Weber said. "If I go out there and don't make the kick, I feel like I'm letting down the team. Having their confidence is a big goal of mine. Having them trust me every time I go out there, that it's not going to be for nothing. Have fun and win games because it's not that fun when you don't win games. I think just putting all the hard work the team has done all off-season to good use."

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