CU Buffs' Guy Thomas carrying confidence into final season

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Aug. 21—The 2021 season certainly didn't end the way Guy Thomas wanted it to end, with him on the injured list.

However, he did enough in the games he played to gain quite a bit of confidence as he prepares for his final year with the Colorado football team.

Before a foot injury cut his season short, Thomas was one of CU's better defenders in 2021. He finished with 36 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks in seven games — the most extensive playing time he's had since his senior year of high school in 2016.

"I feel like going into my sixth year, I'm definitely experienced," he said. "I've seen a lot and I'm just ready for kickoff. I'm just ready to get out there and compete with the top teams in our conference and to compete against TCU, Minnesota and Air Force."

This season, the Buffs have good depth at outside linebacker, but Thomas might be the best of the bunch.

After playing sparingly in two years at Nebraska, Thomas played six games at Coahoma (Miss.) Community College in 2019 before transferring to CU. He played just 80 snaps in 2020 before breaking out last year.

This year, he's aiming to be even better.

"There's a lot of tools that I would like to work on to develop for the season that will help me and help this team, especially to achieve my own personal goals for the season," he said.

Thomas is raising the bar with his goals.

"I plan to lead the team in sacks," he said. "I would like to lead the team in tackles for loss. I would like to at least be top five for the most tackles on the team. And I want to be one of the best pass rushers in the Pac-12."

Head coach Karl Dorrell knows the importance of Thomas in the lineup and therefore is working to get Thomas to push even further to succeed.

"I just think the thing for Guy is we're trying to make his world a lot simpler than he makes it for himself," Dorrell said. "I think sometimes he puts so much pressure about wanting to do things right and do the perfect rep and all that and he looks like he's mechanical. I said, 'Guy, you know the defense. Just go. Let your ability just go.' And when he does that, he's a pretty strong force. We're trying to coach that out of him about him trusting the information and stop thinking so much and let his ability show more than just thinking all the time."

Thomas is working on that and as the Buffs go through preseason practices, he believes he's getting there.

"My whole process of playing the '22 season is to play fast," he said. "I feel like when I play fast I'm hard to block and hard to stop. So one of the things is getting play recognition (faster) and just balling, just flying around and making plays.

"I feel like I'm playing fast. I'm definitely playing fast. I'm making a lot of plays in fall camp, I'm doing a lot of good things, which I'm happy about. My process, my mindset is to get 1% better every day and I believe that I'm doing that."

It helps that he's in a room filled with talent. Senior Jamar Montgomery, sophomore Alvin Williams, freshman Devin Grant and others are competing daily.

"The guys are definitely pushing me," Thomas said. "Those guys are definitely pushing to be the guy for CU, which is great. The competition is making everybody better.

"I'm definitely excited because we have a lot of guys who can do a lot of good things, a lot of guys that come in daily to get better and to correct their wrongs from the day before. There's a lot of learning from each other and there's a lot of pick-me-ups."