Derron Has New Look

Derron Thomas is a running back from Louisiana who is competing for playing time. After redshirting last season he is playing with confidence and a new look this spring.

Derron Thomas played his high school football at perennial powerhouse East St. John in Reserve, La. During his senior season in 2003, he rushed for 2,010 yards on 219 carries for an average of 9.2 yards per carry. He also scored 30 rushing touchdowns. Not only did he rack up yards on the ground, but also through the air catching 40 passes for 715 yards and three touchdowns.

He was nearly unstoppable.

He chose to attend Miami over a number of top-notch programs such as Michigan, LSU, and Florida State. He was the first freshman on campus for summer workouts and he has learned a lot in his short time as a Hurricane.

Last year Thomas redshirted, which is never easy for incoming freshmen.

"It was real tough," Thomas said. "But it gave me time to get my stuff together. I was able to hit the weight room and to learn the plays. I worked hard on the scout team to get the first-string defense ready to play in their games."

This spring Thomas is fired up and excited about spring practices. He has added weight, changed his jersey number, and added an orange visor to his helmet--the only orange visor on the team. Derron has a new look.

Thomas was given jersey number 36 after wearing number 13 in high school. He was fine with the number, but wanted something different this year.

"I liked number 36," Thomas said. "But I wanted a number in the 20's to come out with a different look. When Travarous Bain transferred I asked to get 21."

Before the Peach Bowl last season he added an orange visor to his helmet and now it is something he plans on keeping.

"It is something that I got before the Peach Bowl," Thomas said. "I have adjusted to it and I have always liked the look of it. I enjoy it and I'm going to keep it."

Thomas arrived on campus at 5-foot-10 and 188 pounds, but is now up to 195 pounds. He hopes to add more for the 2005 season.

"I want to be up around 200 pounds for this upcoming season," Thomas said.

The team has had five practices this spring and so far things have gone well for Thomas and his teammates.

"Things have gone real well," Thomas said. "The defense was better on Tuesday than the offense."

At the end of Tuesday's practice fatigue began to play a factor.

"The offense was a bit fatigued and slow at the end of practice," Thomas said. "Butt we are coming around and we'll be okay if we take care of some mental mistakes."

Like all running backs, Thomas prides himself on holding onto the ball. During Tuesday's practice he fumbled in the Oklahoma drill, which is something he does not want to make a habit.

"We never want to fumble the ball," Thomas said. "It was just a mental and something that I need to pick up on. I made a mistake, but I have to move on.

With 10 practices remaining in the spring, which concludes with the spring game on April 9, Thomas thinks the running backs have room to improve in certain areas.

"We mainly want to work on our pass protection on picking up the blitzes," Thomas said. "We don't want to make mental mistakes and don't fumble the ball."

The next practice for the Hurricanes is on Thursday, March 24, 6:00 pm at Traz Powell Stadium.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor at CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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