Tedric Thompson has always been the type of player to strive for perfection, so it’s no surprise that after being named the Pac-12 defensive player of the week, he simply shrugged his shoulders.
“I think I played all right,” the Colorado senior said of his two-interception performance in the Buffaloes’ 10-5 win at Stanford. “I messed up on a couple run fits and stuff like that, so I feel like I can always improve, but really the stats I did have is because of my teammates.”
On his second interception, Thompson said senior cornerback Chidobe Awuzie read the play and told Thompson where the receiver was coming. On the first, he credited safety Afolabi Laguda for having great coverage and the defensive line for providing pressure.
“(Stanford’s Ryan Burns) kind of just threw it up and I was able to jump for it, so it was really a team effort,” he said.
Thompson admits he is his harshest critic, but there’s no denying the senior is having a great season for the 23rd-ranked Buffs (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12), who are on a bye this week.
“He’s had a phenomenal season,” head coach Mike MacIntyre said. “He’s played a lot of football here for us and just grown up and gotten better and better and better. It’s really exciting to see how he’s grown into a man on the football field and off the football field. He’s done excellent.”
Thompson has a career-high four interceptions and he’s among the national leaders with 10 passes defended. He believes this is the best season of his career for only one reason, though.
“We’re winning right now and that’s all that matters,” he said. “I really don’t care about individual stats. As long as we win, I’ll be happy at the end of the day.”
Thompson was the fifth Buff to earn a Pac-12 player of the week honor this season. Both Thompson and MacIntyre said that’s a reflection on the whole team.
“I’m excited for those young men because they’ve worked so hard to get those honors,” MacIntyre said. “The other guys that don’t get the honors are really excited for them, because they know it’s all part of what’s going on. The more we all get together as a team, the more everybody plays their role the best they can, all the individual accolades will come, so it’s good to see.
“It’s good for the program, too, because it gets our name out there and it helps in recruiting for sure.”
CU returned to the field on Wednesday for the first time since the win against Stanford. After three days off (they did lift weights on Tuesday, but did not practice), MacIntyre felt the team came back re-charged.
“We had an excellent practice today and I know we’ll have another good one tomorrow,” MacIntyre said.
Receiver Devin Ross said the bye has been good for the players physically and mentally.
“I think it couldn’t have come at a better time, just with all the stuff we’ve been through,” Ross said. “Eight games straight, that’s a lot for our team. Especially coming off a win, you have good momentum going into the bye week.”
MacIntyre said he and the coaching staff will spend the weekend recruiting. The players are sure to watch some football.
“Every Pac-12 game I’m interested in, because I feel like we’ve got the best conference out there,” Thompson said. “Watching those guys play, you have to give hats off to everybody that plays in the Pac-12.”
Several fans watching the game on Saturday noticed an odd exchange between kickers Chris Graham and Alex Kinney during the second half. The Pac-12 Network came back from a commercial break after Kinney had missed a field goal — CU’s third miss of the day — and cameras caught Graham walking up to Kinney, who was riding an exercise bike, and handing him money.
MacIntyre found out about it on Sunday and called Graham and Kinney to get the story.
“All that happened was Graham went over and there was $10 by the kicking net, so he just grabbed it and went and handed it to (Kinney), saying, ‘Hey, look what I found on the floor. Can you hold it while I’m kicking?'” MacIntyre said. “That’s all it was. It was the craziest thing ever.”
Brian Howell: email@example.com, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.