Josh Darrow brought up a great point in the latest 5 Rings: A Canes Thing podcast when mentioning Jeff Thomas.Everyone always talks about how much talent Thomas has, but having talent and being talented is different. Having the potential and being a difference-maker or game-changer are different things and I think that’s where we are with Thomas right now.
Big Time Players Make Big Time Plays
He was once thought of as the next Santana Moss type player. While he did show flashes last year, making NFL-type catches, it was tough with a mediocre quarterback throwing you the ball. Then came the quitting. It was only days after a big win against Virginia Tech, in which Thomas ran a punt back for a touchdown, that we learned he would be leaving the program. At that time it was considered a huge blow for the Canes program. How were we going to replace a player like that? He was a game-changer. Rumors and hearsay suggest his relationship with former coaches had soured a bit and it ultimately led to him leaving the program.
It’s Just a Slow Start…
Now, it seems like he has taken a step back and has not regained that moniker. He doesn’t look like the same guy. At this point in his career, we should be talking about the plays he is making, not the plays he was making. He hasn’t looked terrible (well except for the muffed punt against Florida), but he hasn’t looked great. Am I being too hard on the kid? Can we maybe just chalk it up to a slow start? Sure, but is that the “standard” these coaches are holding the players to?
If Jeff Thomas wants to be “the guy”, he needs to make catches like the one in the endzone against the Gators. As tough a catch as it may have been(and it was a great throw by Williams), those are the catches he needs to make.
What is clear to me, is that Thomas moves to the beat of his own drum. Is it possible that he lacks focus and discipline? Possibly – and maybe he isn’t who we thought he was. Teams do not fear him like they used to. That needs to change. If Jeff Thomas is not at his best then the Canes aren’t either.
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