Q&A with Johnny Thomas

Johnny Thomas is a 5-foot-11, 205-pound safety from Texas City, Texas, who started 11 games for the Cowboys in 2010. He was fourth on the team with 63 tackles and also recorded three interceptions.

You all are closing in on the season opener, how ready are you to get out there and get it underway?

"I'm extremely ready; it feels like the summer has been longer than it really has been. I just want to get out there on the field and get to Saturday."

How do you feel about the defense and how good can you all be?

"I think the coaches feel very comfortable with our defense and we have a lot of talent on our defense. Really, we just can't wait to get in the action."

Is the infusion of youth on defense a good thing or does that boost in athleticism not outweigh the loss of experience?

"It can be a good thing but the hardest part with that is it does take a long time to learn and get comfortable in the defense. I think we spent enough time during camp and through the summer of everybody learning their playbooks that the defense will get off to a good start."

How does the defense look overall going in to this year?

"I think we look as good as we have ever been. Coach Young has done a great job, improving our program year after year, and I think we're going to be even better this year."

Do you all expect to be in a BCS game and in the hunt for the Big 12 crown this season?

"Yes we do. Our coaches expect a lot out of us with the talent that we have and as good a year as we had last year, we can't help but get better."

The secondary has been a little maligned in recent years but people are expecting a lot out of your unit this year, how do you feel about the group overall and the growth of the young corners?

"I think we have a lot of talent through our secondary and the guys that we'll have back there have a lot of chemistry together. We have a very strong bond and I think that helps a lot."

How strong is the bond between you and Markelle Martin at the safety spots?

"We've been here together for three and a half years now and we're very good friends."

Where do you feel like you've made the most progress in your game since last season?

"I've improved with the small things: learning to be a better tackler, trying to condense the field more, learning my side of the field more than worrying about the strong side and stuff like that."

You and Markelle are pretty much in the leadership role on defense because of experience, how have you enjoyed stepping into that role?

"It feels good to be to kind of be in control out there, we just have to keep the young guys under our wing as much as we can. I'm excited about the young guys and what they'll do."

What are the goals for the defense and the team as a whole this season?

"We definitely want to get to a BCS game, but actually our goal is to win the national championship."

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