Former Stanford defensive captain Michael Thomas is now on the practice squad with the San Francisco 49ers, along with former Stanford teammates Matt Masifilo.
On Thursday, Thomas took the time to answer some questions about the upcoming Stanford-Oregon game and life in the NFL.
CSR: Where was the team's confidence level at before the Oregon games the past few years?
Michael Thomas: Especially two years ago, we thought we had a great game plan for them. Confidence level was at an all-time high. We thought we had a great game plan, we thought we had the players that could play with them, but it just so happened that when we went out there guys wore down as the game went on. Eventually, (Oregon) just took off. No one could blame anybody else, it was just: they got us.
CSR: What about the offense makes it so difficult to stop?
MT: They had the type of players where every play, everyone had to do their job because at any one time they have the guys that could take it to the house regardless of if they are a receiver, a running back, whatever. Everyone can hit the home run. If anyone misses, they're gone. It's tough to play the perfect game against them.
CSR: How much is scheme, how much is the players?
MT: It's obviously their scheme because they're able to lose anybody and still have success, but at the same to time you have to give credit to the players. They have a lot of fast guys. Definitely they have something that works.
CSR: Now that you're teammates with LaMichael James have you had a chance to talk about Stanford vs Oregon?
MT: Oh, definitely He didn't bash us too bad, even though they won by 21 points the last two years. He just talked about how we didn't have enough speed for them, but I beg to differ. The games just got out of hand at the end.
CSR: Have you seen Oregon play much this year? How do you see Saturday's game playing out?
MT: I watch Oregon now, especially being on the same team as LaMichael now. I'm not going to say I became a fan of them, but I've become to appreciate what they do a little bit more now. I think … I'm sorry, I'm going with my boys. I think we got a scheme. We're playing two-deep now instead of just having the starters play. I think we have a chance. I have faith in the D.
MT: They're playing at a high level. I'm so proud of them. I really don't have the words. They are playing at a high level and they've been doing it all year long. I have a feeling that's going to keep going.
CSR: What has watching Stanford been like as an alum?
MT: Now being on the other side as alumni, it's crazy. This is the third game in row that Stanford-Oregon has been for the conference title. I have no impact now, but it feels great to sit back and watch my school. I know these guys still and have seen them play so much. It gives you best feeling. You can joke around with people like LaMichael and make friendly bets. We actually do have a bet on the game.
CSR: What are the terms?
MT: The loser has to wear the other team's apparel for the week.
CSR: Straight up?
MT: Straight up. It's cool, just to be in this position, seeing my guys playing at a high level and playing for something big. That's what it's all about. That's what we wanted when we got to Stanford and that's how we wanted to be when we left.
CSR: How much contact do you have with guys/coaches who are still on the team?
MT: I'm regularly available. They always hit me up if they have questions - players and coaches. I hit the coaches up to tell them good game, or if it's a loss, 'it's alright, back to work.' We definitely have a regular relationship still going on.
CSR: What about the other guys who are in the NFL now?
MT: We talk all the time. We all respect each other that we're in the same league, but also that everyone is still working and grinding. I talked to Moose (Jonathan Martin) this morning. He's doing good. Growing pains, starting as a rookie. They have the Thursday night game tonight. I hit Andrew (Luck) up, maybe like every other week. With him it's still just football.
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