db]Carlton Thomas[/db] admits he doesn't know Thomas Brown on a personal level all that well.
Oh, the two have met a time or two, but as far having time for a deep conversation, so far that hasn't taken place.
But don't think for a second that Thomas doesn't hold the former Bulldog running back in very high esteem.
"I watched a lot of film on him and I know he was a very good running back, that's pretty much how I caught wind of Georgia," said Thomas. "Here was a guy about my size, so my first glimpse of Georgia was seeing that guy. I remember telling myself, that's the kind of guy I'd like to model my game after."
The comparisons are only natural.
At 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds, Thomas is actually an inch shorter and some 20 pounds lighter than Brown when he finished his senior year with the Bulldogs in 2007.
But still, there are more similarities than not.
Neither player was expected to succeed in the rough-and-tumble SEC, and although the jury is still technically out on Thomas, his two-touchdown effort in Saturday's 43-0 win over Vanderbilt at least offers some reason for optimism.
His 15-yard run late in the first quarter gave the Bulldogs a 10-0 lead. It was also the first touchdown of his collegiate career.
"That meant a lot," said Thomas. "Coming out of high school I put up some big numbers and scored a lot of touchdowns, but up until the other day, I hadn't done it here. I missed that feeling, but man, it was nothing like I expected. I scored a lot in high school, but never in front of 90-something thousand fans going crazy. It was an unbelievable rush. I kept telling myself I've got to do that again."
That's just what he did, adding a 9-yard run with 6:25 to go in the third.
Head coach Mark Richt offered Thomas a nice compliment as well.
At Florida State, Richt coached former Atlanta Falcon Warrick Dunn, who proved that despite his stature, he was anything but a situational back only to be used in certain down and distance situations.
Richt doesn't think Thomas is, either.
"He's not a situational back. We don't say, 'Hey, he's in there third-and-medium, third-and-long.' He's in there first, second and third down. We substitute more by series than we do situation, or if a guy is just gassed. Washaun (Ealey) had one long run, he went right, cut back, had a 50-something yard run and he was a little bit blown up and tired so we threw Carlton in there," Richt said. "I remember having Warrick Dunn, and everybody was like, 'You can't feed the guy that many. He can't run between the tackles.' That wasn't true. He was getting probably 17-25 carries and at least 25 touches a game, sometimes receiving the ball. It never bothered him, and he did it in the NFL a good bit too. I think Carlton is probably as tough as Warrick Dunn was."
But it's Brown and his Bulldog pedigree that Thomas looks up to the most.
"You've got a guy who is my size that came in here and just worked his way up. He did everything the right way," Thomas said. "He came to practice every day. I can look at him and see that he got it done, then look at myself and say I can do the same thing."
Thomas said he'd love to meet with his predecessor soon. There are several questions he would like to ask.
"I'd want to know what his mentality was every time he stepped on the field. I want to know how he attacked the game, what mentality he took into every game," Thomas said. "I just respect him so much. He's been in my situation. He did the things I'm trying to do now. If there was anybody I could ask questions to about what to do it, it would pretty much be him."
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