Inside Look with Jeff Thomas

    Go Hoosiers! Jeff Thomas leads the team with 26 tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss this season.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Jeff Thomas leads the team with 26 tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss this season.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Sept. 21, 2011

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Middle linebacker Jeff Thomas is 10th in the Big Ten with 8.3 tackles per game. He leads IU with 26 tackles and 3.0 tackles for loss this season. Thomas sat down with for a quick Q&A:

    How does a guy who grew up in California, went to high school in California and played junior college ball in California end up in the Midwest at Indiana University?

    "I came out for my official visit, enjoyed myself and was excited about Big Ten Football. It seemed like a good gig for me and I really liked it here in Bloomington."

    As a west coast guy, if a friend from IU came out to visit you in California, what would you order them from In-and-Out?
    "(Laughing) The best thing I'm ordering for you is two double-doubles, no tomatoes, no onions. And then some `animal style' fries, a pink lemonade and then you have to have a chocolate shake at the end."

    Where's your favorite place to eat here in Bloomington?
    "Bub's burgers. I like that place and their elk burger. It's pretty good and healthier than a regular burger."

    You were one of three players selected to represent IU at the 2011 Big Ten Football Media Kickoff Luncheon. How was that?
    "It was a great time. Very cool to meet all the other players and coaches. Max [Dedmond], Damarlo [Belcher] and I had a blast up there. It was a great experience for me."

    You were also selected as a team captain by your teammates. What was that like?
    "Means a lot. I've just tried to make a difference in the short amount of time that I've been here. I love all my teammates and I'm real proud to be our team captain on the defense."

    Talk about earning IU's Terry P. Cole "Impact Player" Award as the team's most outstanding player in the Purdue game last year (8 tackles, 3 for a loss, and an interception in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal).
    "It was great. The more time I spend here, the more I learn about the `Bucket Game' and what it means to this state. To make an impact in that game and bring the Bucket back to Bloomington is obviously a big deal. It was nice to get it in their house, too, and we hope to keep it here this year."



    What's it like playing for co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Mike Ekeler?
    "Oh man, it's awesome. He's a total `players' coach. He's always on me hard and I can't say enough about him. I appreciate everything he does for me and the whole linebacking group. I love playing for him and I couldn't ask for a better coach."

    Did you ever get a chance to check out his RV? (Coach Ekeler lived in a RV parked inside the stadium for his first few months on the job)
    "(Laughing) No, I've only seen the outside. Hopefully when I'm done playing for him I'll get to go see it. Maybe we'll go road-tripping together."

    What are you plans once your football career comes to an end?
    "I love the game of football, so I'd love to coach. We have great coaches here and being with them all the time, seeing what they do, it would be cool to coach. If not, sports broadcasting would be something that interests me. Definitely want to be around sports as much as possible."

    With the NFL season starting up last week, give us your favorite NFL team and player.
    "San Francisco 49ers, obviously. West coast, California guy, bay area. My two favorite players are linebackers Patrick Willis from the 49ers and Jon Beason for the Carolina Panthers, my second favorite team."


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