The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 9, 2009

Thomas follows dad’s footsteps

MORGANTOWN — J.T. Thomas is having a very good season as West Virginia University’s weak side linebacker.

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound junior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is following the footsteps of his father, J.T. Thomas Sr. He was an outstanding linebacker himself on WVU teams of 1994-95.

“My dad is doing really good,” young J.T. said. “We talk more about life now than we do about football. But he keeps close tabs on our team.

“Yeah, I’m having a pretty good year. Of course, I expect a lot more out of myself, as does the rest of the team. Everybody is trying to do better. I think things are going pretty well.”

Thomas doesn’t think anyone is trying too hard. He noted that a couple bad breaks and some breakdowns and that sometimes that can cost you a game.

“Sometimes, you just have to turn things around,” he added.

Thomas said the Mountaineers put the loss at South Florida behind them, as they should have.

“You don’t want that last loss to cost you another game,” he said. “That can happen in college football.

“We’re OK. Everyone knows how important the three remaining games are. Our goal is still out there. But we’ve got to take ’em one game at a time.”

In the first eight games, Thomas logged 46 tackles, including 18 unassisted. He also had 2 1/2 tackles for lost yardage, four pass breakups, one pass interception and a fumble recovery.

As a sophomore starter in 2008, Thomas made 65 tackles, 23 solo stops, three interceptions, 10 tackles for lost yardage, three sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered one.

Coach Bill Stewart and defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, who coaches the linebackers, have praised Thomas for his leadership as well as his performances.

“You never know how you might play in a college game, but you want to give it your best shot always,” Thomas said. “If we keep working hard, we can achieve our goal.”

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