Among the keys to success is to take advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself. That's exactly what Stacy Thomas did this spring.
With first team inside linebacker James Burgess limited in his participation because of an injured hand, the sophomore from Miami (Fla.) Gulliver Prep was moved into the first team slot and became one of surprise performers of spring.
He was active in the passing game, proving to be an asset in coverage. His ability to fill the void effectively drew praise from his coaches throughout spring.
“He's a guy that has a lot of ability as a cover linebacker, but can also do some things in the pass rush,” said U of L inside linebackers coach Tony Grantham. “He's a really smart guy and he's picked up on the package. I'm really pleased with him.”
While pleased with his performance during spring, which included multiple interceptions, Thomas remains focused on improving in areas of need.
“I had a pretty good spring, but you can always get better,” he explained. “There's always things you can improve on, so I'll watch film and talk to the coaches to see what else I can do to get better.”
Rated among the top 20 defensive end prospects as a high school senior, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Thomas spent his first season at Louisville as a redshirt before appearing in 13 games last fall, primarily on special teams.
Burgess, who finished third on the team with 71 tackles last fall, will return, but Thomas' experience working with the first team during spring has already proven valuable. The first team reps allowed to get a better knowledge of the Cardinals defensive schemes, as well as learning an important factor in having success.
“Communication, that's the biggest thing,” he said. “Once you have everybody on the same page it is easier to do your job.”