Getting to know Jeff Thomas: New Head Coach talks football, movies, Lady GaGa and much, much mor
Some would say the day Coach Jeff Thomas was born, the earth went back in time a full second. And although during my interview with Coach Thomas he neither confirmed nor denied this statement, I was able to learn a little bit more about Puget Sound’s new head football coach.
David Thirlby- Previously you played and coached for University of Redlands down in California, what would you say is the biggest difference between Redlands and UPS from a football standpoint?
Coach Thomas- We are not yet executing at a championship level on every play. We’re getting there, and we show glimpses, but we need to improve our consistency.
DT- How do you like the weather so far?
CT- (Laughs) I’d take 72 degrees and rainy over 114 degrees and roasting every day. Plus I’m inside the whole day until practice, it could be the North Pole and I wouldn’t even realize.
DT- What is your favorite part about the University itself so far?
CT- I absolutely love the enthusiasm the University has for its students. To me, Log Jam was amazing. I was shocked by how many students showed up to join the clubs, and how many members are already present in the campus community. In short, the passion of our students and the University’s love for them.
DT- What would you say are the principles, values, expectations, etc. that you have of your players?
CT- Football teams, especially college ones, need to establish a culture, have expectations of each other, basic guiding principles. I want to mentor these kids and watch their progression from when they are a perspective student all the way through graduation and onto adult life. Developing academic excellence is also crucial. If they are not succeeding, we are going to give them all of the resources needed to do so. Also, as their coach, I will do everything I can to enhance their athletic experience. I do not understand how a student can come to a school like UPS that is academically focused and not want to be more involved in success. Lastly, they need to be a well rounded person in our community through service, philanthropies, and take advantage of those opportunities.
DT- Will it be easier to compete once you have recruited players suited directly for your spread offense and blitzing defense, or do you truthfully feel that you have the players already in place to made strides this season?
CT- We have great players already. What we lack is depth at this point. However, I firmly believe that we will compete in every game regardless. We are a talented team.
DT- Is there a player on the team that you can’t really take too seriously because of how weird, goofy, or somewhat interesting he is?
CT- Tyler Vlasak (Senior- Sumner, WA). He’s a 240 pound linebacker, he looks like…
DT- A meathead?
CT- Yes. But he is a 3.5 GPA student who is an English major. I try to yell at him at practice, but he always has some witty remark that is funny enough so that I just can’t get mad at him.
DT- Which player’s work ethic do you respect the most?
CT- Cory Dunn (Senior- Portland, OR) is the gold standard for work ethic. He demonstrates leadership vocally, supportively, and in practice and on the field as well.
DT- What player on the team reminds you of yourself when you played collegiately?
CT- Dunn and DaMarkus Milner (Junior- Tacoma, WA). Dunn is a proven leader and DaMarkus has really bought into the team concept and plays with a passion I truly admire.
DT- Moving away from football now… what is your favorite movie you’ve seen in the last year?
CT- The Hangover! I loved it.
DT- Favorite book?
CT- Hands down, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.
DT- Favorite musician or band?
CT- You have got to love Kenny Chesney.
DT- Thus far, your favorite station in the sub?
CT- Definitely Italian.
DT- Okay lets do a simple over/under segment here. How many wins will the Miami Heat have this year? Over/under 70 wins?
CT- Over. They will beat the NBA record for wins in a regular season.
DT- UPS football points for the homecoming game against Linfield this Saturday? Over/under 28 points?
DT- UPS football wins this year, over/under 5?
DT- I’m now going to say a person, word, etc. You tell me the first thing that pops into your head.
DT- Lady Gaga is…
CT- An attention seeker
DT- Mike “the Situation” is…
DT- Lil Wayne is…
CT- Didn’t he get shot in the chest? He definitely did… he has a tattoo that says “Bang-Bang” right? Anyways… he is a bad influence.
DT- What about my freshman year roommate Chris Subia (Senior- Renton, WA)?
CT- Subia is what a Logger should be.
Without question, Coach Thomas along with the rest of the coaching staff is changing the culture of Logger football for the better. The players have bought in and are committed to improving this team on and off the field. This Saturday the Loggers take the field against the conference leading Linfield Wildcats, so get ready to support our Loggers.