Lamar Thomas Interview -- Part 5

Lamar Thomas is one of the best receivers in University of Miami history. In an exclusive interview with CanesTime, he talks about Randy Shannon, why the team has struggled lately, the 2007 team, a possible future in coaching, and much more in this part. Read on...

Earlier you mentioned Shannon running the defense. Be honest with me, was he your first choice for the coaching job?

Yes he was. I had no other person I felt comfortable with other than Randy Shannon, primarily because I've seen him as a player, I've seen him as a graduate assistant, I've seen him in the NFL, I've seen him as an assistant coach, I've seen him on all these levels that he's moved on to, ever since I knew him at the University of Miami. One thing that was consistent, he always wanted to be a coach at the University of Miami. He wanted it. He went through a lot to get it, he paid is dues, and I'm so very happy for him. The thing I kept trying to tell people is that if Randy gets the job, he's going to be able to tell parents all that he knows about the program. He's not going to have to lie and say what he thinks he knows, he's going to tell them what he does know, because he's been there. If Barry Alvarez came here, he'd only be able to talk about what Shalala tells him. Same goes for the other guys. I know our facilities are not as good as Florida's. But I've also seen our facilities come from nowhere. When I first got there, they were horrible. But you know what? It was all we knew. We just played harder because we knew we had to make it somehow, someway.

How long do you think before Randy can turn it around and get us another championship?

I think it's already started. Last year they had no playmakers. When you take away a guy like Devin Hester, it hurts. Last year, Darnell Jenkins got hurt. He was the playmaker last year. If he doesn't get hurt, that offense is entirely different. They had no one on the field that would scare you, except on defense. Every Miami offense has been successful because they've had guys that are playmakers. Go back to the earlier teams. The reason why we were successful wasn't because of guys like me, it was the Kevin Williams' and the Horace Copeland's, who on the drop of a dime could change the whole outcome of a game. At the drop of a hat, they'd change the game. They had no one like that last year. Lance was hurt, Darnell got hurt.

Lance hurt his knee during the spring again, but he should be ready for the fall.

Again? The guy just needs to develop. I talk to Lance and I try to help him develop mentally, and I tell him that he's just got to relax. He's got to relax and just think positively. He's got to think that he's the best. He's got to think, ‘you know what, I work hard in practice, and I'm the best receiver on this team'.

I don't want to take too much more of your time, especially since you've already given me enough to write a book on.

Man, that ‘Cane Mutiny guy [Bruce Feldman] called me up one night, and I just kept talking and talking and he probably got about three chapters worth of material out of me. He should give me a cut of that book (laughs). The thing is, I just love talking about the ‘Canes. I will talk about it to death. I love the ‘Canes. I'm a huge ‘Canes fan.

Alright then, let's continue. We were talking about playmakers or the lack thereof. Who do you think is going to break out in 2007?

I would like to see Lance develop into the receiver that we all thought he can be. I want to see Sam Shields to continue to develop. I think he was put into a situation last year where he was forced to develop. He did about as much as you can ask from a freshman. I just think that one of these guys is going to step up. In order for the program to step up, you have to have that playmaker. Mike, Eddie, and all those guys, they were the guys. Santana, Sinorice, Andre, Reggie Wayne, we had playmakers everywhere. Those guys are going to have to step up. I told Lance time and time again, if you don't catch enough balls in practice, before practice, and after practice, you're not going to get it done. I remember I used to catch balls from the Jugs machine after practice from only three feet away. I could have broken my hand, but I knew if I could do it in practice I'd do it in the game. I knew I wanted to be the best. Instead of just running off the field after practice, those guys need to stay after and catch some more balls.

Some guys are staying after practice.

Oh yeah, and some of them come to me for advice. It's refreshing to hear that kind of stuff from a kid, it reminds me of myself when I came through. Whether it was Mike or Nat Moore on the sidelines, I'd ask anyone and everyone for advice. If you played the position and you had a degree in receiverology, I wanted to hear what you had to say. That's what those kids need.

Some of the players come to you for advice, do you see coaching in your future?

I'm going to always have that passion. I'm going to work my way to UM one day, and I'll be there. That's one of my goals. I'd love to be a coach. Eventually, my goal is to be a coach at the University of Miami. I want to be able to coach those receivers. I think Mosely has done a great job and he'll be there for a while, but I'm just keeping tabs and one day it'll come open again and I can be that guy who steps in. I'm going to give those kids all the secrets to success, and hopefully they'll be successful.

If you had to make a prediction on our record and success this year, what would it be?

I'm going to say 13-0 and a national championship. You know I can't say anything else. The thing is, the season where we used to win back in the day were the years where we wouldn't get enough credit. I know Randy is going to fire those kids up. He's going to let them know that it's us against the world and that we're going to go out there and prove the world wrong.

Is Randy a fiery guy?

Randy was laid back during practice, but on game day he gets fired up. You're not going to see him yelling or making a scene Monday through Friday, but on game day, he's going to get fired up. As a freshman, I'd always ask myself what the heck was wrong with him, because I'd be running scout team quarterback when we played an option team and I would run the option my way. He'd tell me, ‘nah man, they don't run it like that.' I'd reply with, ‘well what if they do run it like that?' He said, ‘they are not'. Sure enough, in the game, they would run it the way he said it. He made the big plays because of it. He studied the game so much that it just became second nature to him.

Thanks for your time, Lamar. I had a lot of fun. It was a great conversation.

I just love the school, man. Regardless of what people say around the country, I don't care. I spoke the truth. The bottom line is: Go ‘Canes.

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Click here to read part 2
Click here to read part 1

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