"Playing last year helped me with my confidence," said Thomas, who recorded three tackles including a sack as well as an interception in the eight games that he played in last season. "The reps helped me. (MSU head) Coach (Dan) Mullen is always talking about repetition. When I first got here I didn't really understand what he was talking about. As I got more into the program I realized what he was talking about. The more reps you do, the better you get. Now, it is like second nature to me. And when I got the sack in the bowl game that sent my confidence to another level."
Although his confidence grew, he realized, after playing in the games, he had a lot of things that needed work.
"I learned by playing last year that I needed to work on my footwork and my hands," said Thomas. "(MSU defensive line) Coach (Brian) Baker is always talking about your feet, hips and hands. And in the spring that is really all that I was working on. One day I would work on my hands. Another day it was either my hips or feet. I was trying to become consistent with all three so it would become second nature to me."
And he feels like he accomplished his goal.
"Once I got all of that down it became second nature to me and helped me slow the game down," said Thomas.
His play in the first pre-season camp scrimmage confirmed to him that things were falling into place.
"I felt like I played well in the scrimmage," said Thomas. "I was consistent with my play and I made a couple of plays. It really felt second nature to me out there."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.