He wears number 5 and brings the wood.
That used to be a description of University of Arkansas All-American running back Darren McFadden, but also now applies to sophomore-to-be free safety Tramain Thomas.
Thomas (6-0, 183) delivered a couple of bone-crunching hits that could be heard throughout Reynolds Razorback Stadium during Wednesday's 115-play scrimmage.
"A lot of guys underestimate me because I am a little bit smaller safety, but I can bring the hat," Thomas said. "I am just going out there and doing my job."
Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino agrees that Thomas – while still having things to work on - is proving himself in the running game.
"Tremain is a very good tackler," Petrino said. "He is probably as good a tackler as we have on the team. He tackles high, he tackles with great technique, great form. He just needs to be able to read run-pass and read his keys and don't give up big plays in the passing game and be able to do a better job in coverage.
"But when you are running the ball against him, he is going to come downhill and he is going to tackle well," Petrino added.
With an injury to fellow Matt Harris, Thomas had a chance to get far more plays than normal in a scrimmage that Petrino believes the defense won.
"It felt like a victory," Thomas said. "We were out there talking to the offense back and forth, but it was all in fun."
Wideout Joe Adams was the recepient of two big Thomas hits.
"I think I did alright," Thomas said. "Going into practice I was just focusing on tackling better and bringing my feet with me.
"When Matt got hurt, it gave me an opportunity to step up and fill that spot," Thomas added. "That is what I plan to do throughout the season."
Thomas played in all 12 games as a true freshman last season, including starting against Louisiana-Monroe.
He finished with 30 tackles, including highs of 5 stops each in games against Western Illinois and Tulsa.
Thomas, who played quarterback in high school for East Chambers High in Winnie, Texas, says he is much more comfortable this season.
"I feel like I am back in high school with the comfort level," Thomas said. "I know the defense better and this spring I have just tried to get better."
Part of that was just getting into action last season and seeing what college football was all about.
"I think the biggest thing was just the experience, getting out there and seeing the speed of the game and seeing how everybody is flowing to the ball and stuff like that," Thomas said. "It helped me out a lot."
He went into the off-season with a plan.
"I really tried to focus on gaining some weight and just getting more flexible," Thomas said. "I wanted to get stronger in the weight room as well."
The secondary did not perform up to its standards last season, but Thomas feels like that will change this year.
"I feel like the biggest thing for us is that we are just a year older," Thomas said. "We had a lot of freshmen playing last year, a lot of guys that played last year, but now we came back and have got a year under our belt so everybody is more comfortable with each other."
Bringing The Wood
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