A sit down with Derron Thomas

Derron Thomas is a red shirt freshman running back from Gramercy, La. The Hurricane caught up with Thomas after Tuesday’s practice.

The Hurricane: How is your family holding up in the aftermath of Katrina?

Derron Thomas: Everybody is doing good; all the schools are open again. My little sister is in school, my brother is in school and my coaches are also back in school.

TH: What does the phrase “all about the U” mean to you?

DT: The U is a powerful word; it’s just the U. We had a lot of players that came through here like [Clinton] Portis, [Willis] McGahee, Ed Reed; we just take a lot of pride in the U.

TH: Growing up a Miami fan, how did it feel running through the smoke for the first time at the OB?

DT: It felt unreal to me. Like you said, Miami was my dream school ever since I was a little boy. When I got the opportunity to come out the tunnel for the Florida State game last year it just felt like a dream come true.

TH: You were recruited by schools like LSU, FSU and Nebraska. What did UM offer you that those other schools couldn’t?

DT: The chance to win a national championship every year, even though we haven’t won it in a couple of years. The coaches are great. This is the best opportunity for me because Miami is the best school for running backs.

TH: Coming into spring practice this year as a red-shirt freshman, what goals did you have to set for yourself to become the No. 2 running back?

DT: I just came in trying to compete, trying to earn a spot. I did real well in the spring, went 100 percent everyday, never let myself get down and kept on pumping and pumping.

TH: How is your relationship with the backs that you are currently in competition with?

DT: We hang together all the time. Andrew, Charlie and I are like best friends. We’re all real cool together. On the field it’s all competition. Sometimes you get a little jealous. You’re like “damn, I want to get that carry and score that touchdown,” but it’s all fun and games.

TH: How do you think previous running backs compare to the squad you guys have now with Charlie Jones, Andrew Johnson and Tyrone Moss?

DT: We all bring something to the table. Tyrone is more of a big physical back. Charlie is a real strong back. Andrew Johnson-he’s the taller one but he’s real fast, bringing a lot of speed to the table. I try to compare myself to Clinton Portis.

TH: What CD do you listen to get pumped on game day?

DT: Lil’ Wayne and Jay-Z.

TH: If end zone celebrations were allowed and you could pick from any, which one would you choose?

DT: I think I’ll do the sharpie and jump into the crowd [laughs].

Richard Lavi