Ian Thomas may still be relatively new to the Indiana program, but when it comes to the tight end position he is one of the more seasoned players with a year of playing experience under his belt. The IU senior spoke with Peegs.com recently about how spring practice is going for him.
The Baltimore native said he has been working on his strength and being more consistent as a player.
“It is going pretty good,” he said about spring ball. “I’m improving on a lot of things and getting the offense down. The biggest thing I’ve been focused on is staying consistent. I am also working on getting stronger and building that I.Q. as a tight end a receiver in this offense. I want to be able to adjust to anything that is out there that I might have to deal with.”
In his first season at IU last fall Thomas played in all 13 games with one start. He said that experience has been very beneficial so far this spring.
“It helped a lot, especially with the guys I am going up against and knowing their strengths and weaknesses,” he said when asked how playing last fall has helped him. “I also know what I have to do to get my body right. I can talk to the guys who didn’t play as much about what to expect and how things are going to be in a game and how to prepare in practice.”
The way Thomas has performed this spring has not gone unnoticed, especially by one of the Indiana assistants that is trying to defend him on a daily basis.
“From my point of view, one of the most improved players would be Ian Thomas,” Indiana safeties coach Noah Joseph said. “He has really stepped up his game. Ian…he's a match-up problem. He's doing a nice job blocking, he can stretch the field, he's catching the ball well. I think you can see the confidence that he has in the position now, and he is able to just cut loose and let his natural abilities take over, instead of being slow and thinking and hesitant and worrying about making a mistake.”
With an entirely new coaching staff on the offensive side of the ball, this spring has been a transition period for Thomas and the rest of the IU offensive personnel.
“It’s been pretty easy getting used to them,” he said about the new coaches on offense. “The expectations are still very high and everything is still pretty much the same, it is just different faces out there.”
When it comes to the scheme, Thomas said the biggest adjustment for him and the rest of the players is the tempo at which they are playing.
“I guess the thing that is the biggest adjustment is the speed,” he said about the new IU offense. “We are trying to play faster than we did last year, but everything else is pretty similar to what we did last year.”
Last year the IU tight ends were not very involved in the passing game with only 10 receptions for 93 yards, but Thomas expects that to change in the new offense that coordinator Mike DeBord is using.
“In every formation there is a tight end so we’re not really decoys in the offense now,” he said about the new offense for the Hoosiers. “There are times where we are the first read or the second read so we have to be ready.”