The Hurricanes began fall practices on Saturday after a hard summer workout program led by strength coach Andreu Swasey.
"It is real good being back out here," Thomas said. "We had a long summer. Eveyone worked hard to get into good condition. It is just good to get back out on the field again."
One of the reasons the team is excited to get back out on the practice field is their potential for a great season. There is plenty of experience across the team and a lot of talented players. There is more optimism this year than there was a year ago.
"I just know we have potential," Thomas said. "We have receivers, a good quarterback, our whole defense back...it is just a plus when you know your team is going to be good. We are just jacked up for the season."
Last year Thomas was part of a trio of star running backs who signed with the 'Canes in 2004. Andrew Johnson (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Charlie Jones (Homestead, Fla.) rounded out the trio. Both Johnson and Jones played while Thomas and Timmons redshirted. He appeared to be behind the eight-ball in terms of the depth chart, but that didn't take long at all to fix. Coming into the spring he took a simple approach--just play.
"I don't really go out and try to prove anything," Thomas said. "I just try to go out and play my ball. I know my potential. I just go all out, work hard, and try to make plays. Whatever happens from there, happens."
Thomas passed Jones on the depth chart and Johnson is still recovering from an ACL injury. Although Thomas's status on the team has changed, his mindset has not.
"It's not really different now," Thomas said. "I am still coming out here working hard and trying to make plays."
All three running backs are extremely close off the field.
"They are my best friends," Thomas said. "We do everything together. We go out to the mall, chill at each other's place, or play some playstation. We just have a lot of fun together. We have a very good relationship."
Thomas rooms with Jones and stays two minutes away from Johnson. Tyrone Moss is also close to those guys as well.
"We are close with all of the backs," Thomas said. "We will go over and mess with Tyrone sometimes. It's fun."
Running Back Career Stats
JR #30 Tyrone Moss - 956 yards 11 TD 4.6 avg 37 long SO #32 Andrew Johnson - 41 yards 1 TD 2.6 avg 8 long SO #34 Charlie Jones - 25 yards 0 TD 4.2 avg 9 long FR #21 Derron Thomas - no stats FR #37 George Timmons - no stats"Everyone is saying that we don't have any backs and that we are overrated," Thomas said. "We are just trying to prove to everybody what we can do. A lot of people are going to be surprised."
Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org