Question: What has this whole experience been like for you between trying to juggle your schedule with all the workouts, visits and travel?
Thomas Howard: I've enjoyed the process and I am anxious to see how everything is going to unfold because everything is so unpredictable right now. It's an exciting time for me, my family, friends of the family, my hometown and the school. It's a good time.
Q: What are you hearing from scouts that they like most about you?
TH: I hear I'm very athletic. Coaches in general want someone who will not only be a good player but will also fit into a strong locker room. They want good character guys who will be good for the team. I was a locker room leader in college and wouldn't bring any negativity to a locker room. I try to keep the team motivated.
Q: At the Combine, who did you interview with as far as the head coach level interview?
TH: I interviewed with 21 teams at the Combine, not all the head coaches were there but I've interviewed with quite a few teams where the head coach was in the room.
Q: Who were some of the head coaches that really stood out to you?
TH: All of them, because they are head coaches and you see them on T.V. and I was able to interact with them, so all of them stood out. It was good to see Herman Edwards and Tony Dungy because they were good friends with my father.
Q: You mentioned Tony Dungy, what was his connection with your father?
TH: Out of college I think they went to an All-Star game together. They may have played in the league around the same time. It's like me playing with someone in college now and being in my 40's and remembering those good times. My dad has a picture with his arms around Tony Dungy in the house. When I mentioned my name he knew who I was and had a smile on his face, probably thinking "this is Thomas Howard's son and I can't believe that I'm here interviewing his son when I played with him back in the day." That was fun.
Q: What was it like talking to Dungy one-on-one and what kind of things did he want to know about you during that 15 minutes?
TH: Every team basically asks similar questions. One team might want to know more about your background, some may spend more time doing board work, which is drawing x's and o's to see how quickly you pick up on the game. Others want to know more about what happened during the season and they ask questions about the season. Dungy seemed like a laid back guy. All the coaches seemed comfortable which made me feel comfortable around them. Meeting Dungy stood out because there's only one Tony Dungy in the world. All the coaches really stood out.
Q: The Colts like the kind of linebacker you are which is athletic, speedy, you are a physical player and they have a vacancy at strong side linebacker right now because of the departure of David Thornton to the Titans. Are you familiar with the Colts' cover 2 scheme and do you think you could step in at that position in that kind of defense?
TH: I'm not as familiar with the Colts' Cover 2 schemes, but I've run different varieties of the cover 2 here at UTEP. I don't think it would be too hard for me to pick it up and to go out there and perform. I'm confident in my ability, after you get drafted it is just the beginning and nothing is guaranteed. You have to go out there and earn that spot and you're fighting with an NFL veteran who already knows the plays and already knows what to expect when he sees different things. It's going to be a battle and a struggle but it's a situation I'd rather be in than anything I could think of because I love the game so much. Fighting for a position is nothing new for me; I did it here at UTEP as a walk on. Wherever I end up, I'll be excited about the challenge.
Thomas Howard Q&A, Part Two
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