Lamar Thomas Interview -- Part 4

Lamar Thomas is one of the best receivers in University of Miami history. In an exclusive interview with CanesTime, he talks about his experience with, the Orange Bowl situation, a funny moment with Steve Walsh before a big game, the Florida State rivalry, and much more in this part. Read on...

Have you been to any practices?

Not this year. I just haven't had time.

Do you still visit for updates on the team?

Absolutely, but I don't post too much. For the most part, I just read. Those fans are brutal [laughs]. I enjoy reading though. I posted more back in the day but those fans are brutal, like when I was interested in applying for the wide receivers coach position and one guy said I could teach the receivers how to get stripped from behind (laughs). Brutal! What about my 144 catches! At least I can teach them how to catch! The coaching staff is doing really well now, though.

Tough fan base, indeed.

You have to love that, though. I'm still all about the ‘U' though, I got a new ‘U' tattoo, my car tags say LT 36. That's just the way it is, I'm a ‘Cane for life. We are family. We might not talk all the time with guys we played with back in the day, but when we do talk it's like we talk about the old days like they were yesterday. To go through all that stuff, winning national championships, deaths, Pell Grants…all kinds of stuff went on. To still be there, it meant a lot. I'll never forget my last game, when we were all around the Ibis taking pictures. For my last catch, I took a bow. I loved it. When I die, I want my ashes sprinkled around the Orange Bowl. Hell, I don't even know if they will still be able to play there after next year.

What do you think about the Orange Bowl situation?

I played at Dolphin Stadium, and it's not a college stadium. Dang, I just can't imagine them anywhere else. I saw them play there against Virginia when they had Yatil Green and Tremain Mack, and it was just weird. It was just a weird game. I don't know, I have mixed emotions about it. Obviously the school knows what they are doing. There's just so much tradition in the stadium.

What's your best memory from the Orange Bowl?

Running out of the smoke for the first time against Florida State in 1989. It was awesome. I remember this, and I joke about this now. Steve was warming up, and was getting under center. I was just a freshman and I wasn't going to play that day, but I lined up at receiver. Steve looked at me and shouted ‘who the [expletive] is he? Get him the [expletive] out of here!' I just wanted to get some warmups in. I shouted ‘Sorry about that, dude!'

That's the year they released that rap video. Did you guys watch that and get fired up? Do you even need any extra motivation versus Florida State?

I'll tell you something. When I was about to play against FSU, I would listen to the warchant in my earphones. I love that song. It pumps me up. When they'd start playing it during the game, I'd say ‘that's my song, baby!' ‘They're playing my song!' It got me fired up. I remember being a freshman and thinking ‘there's no way we can beat Deion Sanders, Sammy Smith, etc. They have the #1 team in the country. We have Randy Shannon and a bunch of other guys who look ok in practice, but I don't know.' But let me tell you, when they came out of that smoke…when they came out of that smoke, I had never seen…They were a different team, man. A whole different team. I was like ‘wow, this is NOT the team I saw practice every day.' When I saw them come out of that smoke like that, that's when I knew there was something magical about game day.

I'm not sure I can print that. You just said you thought we were going to lose!

I was a true freshman, I didn't know! I had never seen those guys on game day! Randy upset me during practices, too, because I thought he would cheat. I was on the scout team and he'd be running the defense, and I'd run a play a certain way successfully and he'd say ‘that's not the way they do it.' ‘How do you know?!' He'd say ‘trust me, they do it this way.' All of us on the scout team would say ‘whatever dude, you don't know what you're talking about.' Then during the game, he was everywhere! It was incredible to see! These guys who I thought didn't know what the hell they were doing were all over the place! It was game day madness. The competition level turned up. I will never forget it because I knew that point on what being a ‘Cane was all about.

I'm sure some freshman saw you in 1992 doing the same thing Shannon did and thinking the same thing you did as a freshman.

They knew on game day what I was bringing. I was bringing confidence and I'd take the team on my shoulders because I knew I was going to make a big play. Against FSU in 1992, [Tamarick] Vanover ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. I said, ‘ok, it's 0-0 now. We were already up 7. It's all good, baby!' I was telling Chris T. Jones, ‘I'm going to make a play that's going to get us back on top'. That's how it was though. I faced Ryan McNeil every day in practice. I knew what he was going to do, and he knew what I was going to do. If I could beat him, then Terrell Buckley and Clifton Abraham didn't mean anything to me. I knew that I practiced against the best defense, the best linebackers every day in practice. Marvin Jones and those other guys, they meant nothing to me, because I saw BamBam (Darrin Smith), (Micheal) Barrow, (Jesse) Armstead, etc. There was nothing they could give me that I couldn't take, nothing!

Three plays stand out from that game to me. The first one is that weird safety that put us up 19-16.

Yeah, when Derrick Brooks wanted no part of that hot potato. I bug him all the time about it.

Second play is that touchdown you beat Abraham on. The third one is Barrow's hit on Vanover.

Oh yeah, oh yeah. We ran that screen play in practice and we could never complete it because Mike would blow it up. FSU ran it earlier in the game successfully, and I was so mad, SO MAD. I said, ‘Mike, if they do that again, you know what you gotta do. You know when that guard pulls out that play is coming'. And man, he made an awesome hit.

Lights out for Vanover.

Yep, but we gave him an opportunity (to come here). He should have been a ‘Cane (laughs).

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