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A Day in the Life of a Panther

Georgia State Football during training camp
Student athletes run drills during preseason training camp. Photo submitted by Georgia State Athletics

What does the schedule of a football player look like? I mean, sure, we’ve seen them during the games, practices and between classes. But what about off the field? 

Senior defensive end Terry Thomas Jr. sat down with me to share the rundown of a day in the life of a Georgia State football player. He, along with the rest of the football team, has been participating in summer training camps.

The days are long, with a fully loaded schedule beginning at the crack of dawn.

 

7 a.m – Breakfast in the dining hall 

(Between 7 – 8:30 a.m., players meet with trainers to get taped up or receive therapy.) 

8:30 a.m. – First full team meeting and weigh-in; run-down of itinerary; breakup into offensive and defensive groups to go over different systems and schemes 

8:45 a.m. – Break-up into position teams (offensive linemen, quarterbacks, wide receivers, etc.) 

Wake Forest University

9:30 – 9:45 a.m. – Special teams meeting 

10 a.m. – Practice begins

12 – 12:30 p.m. – Practice ends; shower and lunch at the stadium 

3:45 p.m.  – Lift weights (offensive and defensive players alternate days) 

4:30 p.m. – Position meeting (review that day’s practice) 

6 p.m. – Dinner in the dining hall  

7:45 p.m. – Quick walk through 

8:45 p.m. – Walk through ends

 

A schedule like this may seem straightforward. But without the correct mindset, it can become very overwhelming and difficult to manage, even for a veteran player like Thomas. However, he believes that getting through such a rigorous routine requires always remembering your “why”. Thomas believes that if you understand your purpose and show a passion towards it, the rest will fall into place.

This kind of schedule is very familiar to the veteran player. Although used to it, the defensive end admits to not being entirely against a day of relaxation. His perfect day consisted of “doing nothing at all” — a phrase with which many college students can relate. No alarms, no regards to a diet plan, and the ability to be more social are a few of the things Thomas would take advantage of if obligations were not a factor. 

“Downtime is really hard to find, so there are days when I really just have to make it,” Thomas said.

He expresses the importance of debriefing at the end of the day to keep from getting overwhelmed. After a long day of camp, Thomas enjoys watching TV or catching up on sleep in order to relax at the end of the day. 

Going into his final season as a Panther, Thomas reflected on the lessons he has learned over these past three seasons. He described his entire college journey as an experience that will shape him upon graduation. 

“Discipline is the biggest lesson I’ll take away,” Thomas said. “If you don’t love this, you won’t stick around that long.” 

He has embraced his role as a leader on the team and plans to be the best role model possible through his non-football commitments, such as being the vice president of the Zeta Mu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha.

On top of his duties in the fraternity world and his role on the football team, Thomas is also a scholar student who is enrolled in Georgia State’s Honor College and received several academic honors such as Dean’s List Fall 2016 and Fall 2018, CoSIDA Academic All-District, Sun Belt Conference Honor Roll 2016-17 and 2017 – 18. 

“I want to show the younger guys on the team that they can be more than an athlete as well,” Thomas said. 

Looking towards the future, the senior is excited about the upcoming season. “Last year we had a lot of youth around, so we had to develop a lot of guys during the off-season,” Thomas said. “I’m really excited to see how these young guys step up.” 

Thomas expressed excitement and optimism about the growth of the young Panthers for the upcoming season. “The program, from playing in the Georgia Dome to different changes, is simply day and night,” he said. 

“No matter how good you were coming out of high school, college is a different story,” senior said. “You definitely have to catch up to that level to play.”  

Thomas and the team will open up their 2019 season in Knoxville on August 31, when the Panthers are to face the Tennessee Volunteers.