What makes Tommie stand out from other players at his position?
"Well I wouldn't be the first to say this, because it's kind of his reputation now, but he is one of the hardest hitters I've ever coached. We've had some good ones, but Tommie is really careful about how and when to throw his body into the hit. He's had some times where I just couldn't believe the other guy held on to the football, he really plays hard from the secondary."
He plays pretty big on film, any thought on playing him other positions?
"He could probably play anywhere, truth be told. I'll bet if we asked him to play center he'd get down and do a good job, but putting him back there gives him a chance to really wind up. He is kind of our homerun hitter on defense, so to speak; and he can turn the game around for us in a hurry. He is also on return team and has had some excellent returns this year, and is the protector on punt return as well."
How is Tommie against the pass?
"I think he's just fine. Obviously, it doesn't suit his main strength as well, but the good thing about him is he is fast and agile. On short passes he can play like a linebacker and get in and make a play, but he has the speed and size to stick with people deep. I don't have the stats in front of me but I know he is a 4.5 guy. He probably just hasn't been tested as much as he needs to be yet."
What's one thing off the field that makes him special?
"Well it's both on and off the field, but it is probably that he just loves to play the game. He is a real light hearted kid and just enjoys being out there and making big plays. He is one of the leaders of our team, and I think it has really helped him develop and mature. It's really fortunate as a coach to have players who love to be out there day in and day out."
What is one thing he needs to improve on to succeed at the college level?
"Wow, well honestly he is a pretty complete player, there is no glaring weakness in his game. Generally getting stronger and faster is nice, but if I had to pick I would say sometimes he is too aggressive. When he is moving in to make the big hit, sometimes he can't adjust fast enough cause he is flying, so he ends up not making solid contact and almost shoulder or arm tackling the guy. He gets away with it fine now, but in college he'll need to realize when he has to slow down and make sure the guy goes down."
Any update on his recruitment?
"You will have to ask him, but I know he's been pretty busy lately. I think right now he is just trying to get as much information as possible before making his decision. I know LSU and Oklahoma are two he's been on for a while, but Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and some others are others I know he's been offered by. I don't think he has a clear favorite or anything at the moment."
Coach's Corner: Tommie Saunders
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