Marcus Thompson: It was really important because, coming off a loss, we all had to figure out a lot of stuff and a lot of plays we were weak in. We had to make adjustments, so we went really hard through the bye week, mostly, because we all have to improve. This is the time for us to improve before we can move on to gameplan for our next opponent.
SR: Coach Schiano said he thought this was one of the best bye weeks one of his teams has ever had. Did you feel like this one was different?
MT: Yes. I felt that we really improved, not just on the field, but everywhere — the weight room, the film room, everywhere. I feel that this year was a better bye week than last year. I feel that we are a stronger team because of that bye week.
SR: How much fun are you having right now?
MT: I'm having a lot of fun. I'm at a new position and it suits me. I'm having a lot of fun learning. I get to rush the passer. I get to be physical. That's all I want.
SR: What has your experience been like playing defensive end in live games?
MT: It's good. It's really good. I love hitting, so I take it as I just want to hit all the time, anything, whatever. Even if I don't make the play, whatever, I have to hit something and disrupt the offense.
SR: How much have you learned from the more experienced defensive end son the team?
MT: Justin Francis, I've been mostly following him with techniques and tips. He played D-end, but now he's playing D-tackle. I really look up to him and Manny Abreu. I look up to them because of how physical they are and how hard they go on every play. They've been teaching me a lot.
SR: How does the depth at defensive end help you guys stay fresh?
MT: I like it. I like it because it gives us all a chance to regenerate and get ready for the next play. A lot of times, you could be gassed because of a long stretch of plays. With the way we do things, I can depend on Mike Larrow to go in and still hold it down as a defense.
SR: Playing linebacker and fullback as a freshman, do you feel settled finally? Do you like having a position you can call your own?
MT: I finally hit home. Everybody says that to me that I'm finally headed home. I've been moved around a lot and, with D-end, I feel like that's where I'm supposed to be. It's that simple.