Coach Speak: Patrick Ross on Marcel Thompson

The Chargers had an opening at the back end of their receiver corps, and that was before the intensified standoff with Vincent Jackson. Can undrafted rookie Marcel Thompson cash in? For find out, we talk with Patrick Ross, the football coach at Lindenwood University.

Marcel Thompson (6-foot-2, 204 lbs.) started his college career at Portland State. After struggling to carve out a significant role with the Vikings, he transfered over to Lindenwood University and instantly emerged as a game-changer.

Can Thompson continue to play like a big fish now that he's in the big pond? To get the answer, we check in with Lindenwood head coach Patrick Ross.

  LaShana Marshburn: What was it like to coach Marcel?

Patrick Ross: Obviously, you know Marcel brings a lot of talent to the table with his speed and size, so it's always a good opportunity to coach a guy like that. Also, Marcel shows a lot of football instincts and a lot of dire to be as good as he can be.

LM: What is it about his skill-set that makes you believe he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL?

PR: I think to play in the NFL you've gotta be fast. You can be the best receiver in the country, but if you can't run by defensive backs and do things you need to get open, then you don't have a shot. I think that's one thing that Marcel has: He has the speed to compete.

  LM: What did you think of his decision to sign in San Diego?

PR: That entire free agency process he just felt really comfortable with the Chargers. He liked where the organization was headed and felt that they had a need for him.

  LM: Is there one moment from his college career that stands out to you?

PR: We were playing in Helena, Mont., playing Carroll -- the No. 2 ranked team in the country -- in a snowstorm in about minus-7 degree weather. We had gotten ourselves in the fourth quarter, tied ball game, backed up to the 10-yard line. The ball was snapped and the QB -- and this was with literally about two and a half minutes left -- threw a 60-yard pass to Marcel. As he's getting pass interference called on the defensive back, Marcel reaches up, makes a good catch and stumbles a few extra yards and picks up 50 some yards to get us to midfield, which led to the game-winning touchdown a few plays later. That put us in a championship game.

  LM: What can you tell us about his off-the-field successes?

PR: He's very charismatic, has a great smile and people like being around Marcel. He makes you laugh.

  LM: Where must he improve in order to stick with the Chargers?

PR: I think for Marcel it's going to be adjusting to the speed. Even if you're coming from a Pac 10 school, you've always got be able to adjust to the speed. He's always been the fastest guy on the field or pretty close to the fastest guy on the field. Now, everybody there is going to be equally fast if not faster. He's really going to have to refine his overall game.


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