The Travis Thomas express was sidetracked this spring. The Washington, Pa. native found himself sidelined most of spring practice with an injury, leaving Irish fans wondering when they'd get their first chance to see what all the all buzz was about.
Although the highly-recruited back has not played an official down for the Irish, the hype still remains he's excited about this season and his progress.
"The first few days have been good, comparing it to last year," Thomas said of his start to fall camp. "I know what I'm doing and things are going a lot smoother and moving a lot faster, so it's going good. I'm a hundred percent more comfortable with the running game and the passing game - it's the whole feel and speed of the game - I think that red-shirt helped me a lot."
With a former 1,000-yard rusher and another senior tailback competing with Thomas for playing time, the former Super Prep All-American knows he has his work cut out for him if he hopes to find some carries in the crowded Irish backfield."The competition is tough," Thomas said. "You have Ryan (Grant) who works hard, you have Marcus (Wilson) who works hard, and you also have the guys behind you who are trying to be where you are--and ahead of you. So you've got to stay on your toes every day and do everything right and be consistent."
We asked Thomas what motivates him to keep working hard and not get discouraged.
"I'm a winner - I hate to lose," Thomas said. "I hate to do things wrong, and I'm always looking for ways to get better. That keeps me going--being a hard-worker. I run hard, I play hard and I know nothing else but hard, so that's how I've always been and that's how I play."
With the competition fierce, Thomas knows he has a few areas where he needs to improve before he starts to see the football in game situations.
"I want to work on my receiving skills a lot more, so that they can utilize me in the passing game, and I need to work on my blocking skills," Thomas said. "I'm definitely a better blocker than I was last year, just because I feel a lot stronger."
When asked to describe his running, he stated, "It's a combination of speed and being kind of hard to handle in the open field, and if we need to get those tough two or three yards, I just go straight ahead and get it."
Players often have a list of goals for training camp and the season but Thomas indicated he only has one goal, "To absolutely get on the field, and once I get on there, establish myself to be a playmaker."
Irish Eyes has been impressed with Thomas's determination and his one goal of getting playing time this year. With all the buzz around Thomas, don't be surprised if he reaches that goal this season and surpasses it.