Mitch Levy of 950 KJR interviewed Shaq Thompson yesterday. Since I had nothing better to do before work this morning, I felt the urge to transcribe Shaq's portion of the interview. To hear the whole thing go hereShaq Thompson talks about the combine, his NFL prospects, playing on offense, and how the defense is shaping up..
What’s all this about a combine yesterday … getting ready for the draft?
Yeah, we did most of the drills. We did the vertical, broad jump, 40 … it was a great experience being in the environment and learning how the combine is going to be run in Indianapolis, or wherever it is …
Are you trying to tell me that you are getting ready for next year’s combine?
I’m not saying it now, but next year, or it could be the year after … my senior year. I just want to be prepared for this, whenever the chance comes, and I just want to improve each and every year.
How are you going to be able to resist the temptation of going out for all that cash?
I’m really focused on my degree. It really depends on where I’m at, if I’m halfway, or more than half way. It also really depends on my stock in the draft, if I’m first, second or third round … then I would consider it. If I’m any lower than that I will be coming back for my senior year.
What was it like at the combine … how did you do in these drills?
I did good. I tested great on the vertical, ran a good time in the 40, killed the L drill and the shuttle drill, and there’s only room to improve, so that’s what I’ll be working on.
Do you consider yourself a safety or a linebacker?
I’d say a combination. I got better on my covering last year and going into spring ball this year. I can play in the box, play/cover slots and wide receivers. I just feel like a little bit of both.
So what will you be 10 years from now?
Hopefully linebacker. I am trying to get bigger, play outside linebacker. I know now the NFL looks for linebackers who can run, so hopefully I’m a linebacker.
How big are you these days?
I’m 6’1" – 228.
What can you run the 40 in?
I get about 4.5, 4.49
Are you going to have the ball in your hands this year?
Yeah, I believe it’s going to happen. Coach Pete’s a man of his word. When he first came in I sat down and talked to him about it and he liked the idea. I didn’t realize that the idea was going to come true … so spring ball came and he was like "come play offense." I was like "man, I don’t know … what a dream come true." It’s something Coach Pete, whenever he feels like he wants me to play offense then I’m going to be able to play … so, keep your eyes open.
Why do you think it hasn’t happened up until this point (Sark was excited about the possibilities, did you guys talk about it over the course of the last couple of years, or did it never get discussed?
We had talked about it before I came up there. He said he would consider it, he would think about it … You know, I thought he was going to do it, but he didn’t so I wasn’t really trippin on it. You know, I came to play defense. We had great running backs. Everybody knows Bishop Sankey, Dwayne, Deonte, and we got Jesse, so … they’ve done a good job so I just stayed back and just stuck to defense and special teams.
Be honest with me Shaq, when you were involved in that UCLA game, and you’re watching Miles Jack play both ways, and score 2, 3, 4 touchdowns, you had to be saying on the sidelines "Gimme the ball coach! I can do what he does … I can do it better than what he does!?
I wasn’t thinking that, I was just thinking Miles Jack was probably the first linebacker to ever do it … I wish I had my shot, but this year, Coach Pete getting here, I know I going to have a shot.
Give me a state of the Defense address.
This year, the importance on defense is to play physical, play tough, and play as a unit … and knock somebody out. We’ve got the front 7 coming back … we got Danny Shelton, he’s gonna clog the 2-lane gaps … we have Andrew Hudson, he’s gonna clog the gaps … we have Ha’ouli on the outside … we have Andrew Hudson, we have Josh Shirley, and at linebacker we have Corey Littleton, myself included, you have John Timu, the smartest person on the field, you have Travis Feeney, one of the fastest sprinters on the field. Safety, Marcus Peters, Travell Dickson, you have the young birds, Jermaine Kelly, Trevor Walker, Brandon Beaver, and the new people coming in, Budda Baker and all them … I feel like our defense is on to the top.
Does it all start with Danny Shelton?
That’s where it starts … that’s what it’s all about. Danny Shelton is the key, and he’s the big puzzle piece.