Devils Digest: Thomas, it’s your first ever Pac-10 Media Day and you get to go the Rose Bowl. How are you enjoying this experience?
Thomas Weber: “It’s great to be here and it sets the tone for the whole season. I’m very excited and it was fun meeting the other players and coaches.”
DD: Must be fun coming back to the stadium where you had your career long 53-yard field goal, which may have cemented you Lou Groza award in 2007…
TW: “(laughs). Definitely. We were just talking about that with Coach Erickson. I sure hope I have a good year like that again.”
DD: Take us back to last year and your groin injury. When and how did it happen?
TW: “It was a freak accident; I never had an injury like that before. The week of our second game right before Thursday’s practice I was out there warming up kicking field goals and in my first full kick I felt something go, and that was it. I knew there was nothing I could do but rest it and slowly get back into (playing).”
DD: 2009 was obviously a very rough season for the team, how hard was it for you to keep positive dealing with that, your serious injury and trying to be a mentor to your replacement Bobby Wenzig?
TW: “It was definitely hard, but helping Bobby was the least I could do. I was still part of the team and I wanted us to win. Anything I could do to help…helping Bobby and giving him pointers, shagging balls, whatever I could do I was doing to stay involved.”
DD: Was it personally hard having a positive attitude in general, when your teammates were naturally very down?
TW: “It was, but I had to make a conscious effort not to take my emotions and have that transfer to other guys on the team.”
DD: As you try to get back from your injury, how different was your approach in this off-season from a physical and mental standpoint?
TW: “From a mental standpoint, I was very determined after that season was over. I gave myself some time to rest and when January 4th came I got back right after it and slowly every week I tried to increase my workouts more and more.
“From a physical standpoint I noticed that in the spring even though I was making kicks I was doing some little things different than I did before. I was able to see that on film and I focused this summer on doing those things better. I also made an improvement on my kickoffs, and my goal this year is to have a lot more touchbacks. Last two years they were down and that’s not exactly helping the team. I need to put us in a better position.”
DD: Last spring practice probably made you think of your 2007 fall camp which was a real roller coaster as far as your performance. How would you assess your spring practice?
TW: “I felt it was a good time to get a lot of reps, and I felt that I accomplished that and was able to build up my confidence a little bit. I made some kicks in that spring game (was 3-3 from 41, 47 and 45 yards), and even though some of them weren’t that pretty they went in and that’s what counts on the score sheet. It was just good getting back into flow of things - snap, hold and kick.”
DD: At the end of spring practice did you feel that you were where you wanted to be or do you feel you still have a ways to go?
TW: “I felt I set up a good foundation for me going into the summer. Summer was huge for me because it’s a time where you don’t have to worry about practices or games. It’s all on you to work hard and have to be disciplined because it’s your own workouts kicking the ball.
“In the weight room our trainers helped me a lot. I started going through a stretching routine that helped me because I was running and lifting four days a week.”
DD: You touched on getting back into the flow of things - snap, hold and kick. How important is it for you to have the same long snapper (Thomas Ohmart) and the same holder (Trevor Hankins) as last year?
TW: “It’s huge. It’s been great for Trevor because he has had a whole season of holding under his belt, and last year I really had to get into his head and tell him how important it was. This year he was out there every workout taking snaps from Tommy to make sure he was hitting the spot and really became a perfectionist with it.
“Trevor worked his butt off with his punting and got better at that, and he didn’t want to suck with his holding (smile).”
DD: Would you equate kicking field goals to hitting home runs? Body strength matters only to an extent and a lot of your ability to do either is dependent on your technique and delivery?
TW: “Power can only help you so much, because if you’re not kicking it right it won’t go anywhere. You have to have good technique first and then you increase your power and intensity up.”
DD: Obviously the team has nowhere to go but up this year and you and your teammates are naturally motivated to turn things around. Can you elaborate on the mindset of the players this year?
TW: “The whole team is excited for the season and excited to shock the world. It doesn’t matter to us what anyone else is saying. We know what we are capable of and the level of talent on our team.”
DD: I know it’s probably not a shock to you to see the team picked 9th, but are you the type of player to make sure and put that media poll up on a board and look at it everyday?
TW: “I think it’s definitely extra motivation to see that we’re not receiving any respect. It’s more motivation for us to go out and play hard. Everyone knows there no one is really dominant right now in our league and we feel that we can be that team this year.”
DD: You probably heard a lot of players and coaches saying that if you were healthy for the entire season that the team would win all those close games it lost last year. Do you just take it as a compliment or also realize that this is a team sport and that a lot more had to go right for the offense beside yourself to win more games ?
TW: “Of course it’s compliment and I would be lying if I say that it doesn’t give you confidence hearing that. It’s good to hear that people think that of me. But like you said the entire team is the one that wins the game. We put last year behind us because we can’t change it. We can only work hard for this year and get better.”
DD: After winning the Lou Groza award as a freshman you probably heard many times that you never will have a season as good as that one. But obviously you would like in your last year at ASU to go out on a high note…
TW: “I’m really looking forward to this year and I worked hard for it. I put in the time to get ready and now it’s just time to perform. I really believe this will be a good season not only for me but for the entire team.”
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