Football Program Q&A: Cole Thompson

Cole Thompson action shot
Photo Courtesy: Gil Talbot.

• What is your concentration?

• What do you hope to do in life once football is finished?
To be honest, I am not really sure yet and I don't really care. I just want to remain content in every moment of it and continually improve myself as a person and in my relationships. That being said, it has always been a dream of mine to buy a big plot of land and put it to use as a farm or cow pasture. I think I prefer nature to people.

• Can you explain the nuances of your position and provide something for the casual fan to better understand what you're seeing on the field?
As a safety, we're often thought as being the last line of defense. This is true, but there is a lot more to it than that. It really depends on the call coming in from the sideline because sometimes I am also the first line of defense. I like to think of my position as being the quarterback of the defense, as every play I communicate to all levels of the defense about what they should do, or what I think the offense is going to do. Before the snap, my position is about deception to try to throw off the quarterback, and at the snap, my position is all about reaction. It's a vulnerable position because if you make a mistake it will more often than not cost your team at least a first down.

• What is your first memory of football?
My first memory was my first loss in the playoffs in my second year of playing football. I think the losses stick out to me more than the wins do.

• What's your favorite Harvard team to watch as a fan?
Being from California, it's been fun to watch the hockey team because the sport is so unfamiliar to me. My first hockey game I've ever seen (on TV or live) was actually my freshman year when they played Cornell. Plus, they have had a lot of success since I've been here, and a lot of those guys have been great friends of mine.

• What are the hardest parts of being a student-athlete at Harvard?
Obviously time, as practice takes up a significant part of the day. More than that though, the energy spent at practice is energy that any normal student has to devote to their studies, so I believe that we lose time as energy in that sense as well. I think you have to be especially driven to do both here because here we truly do both at a high level.

• What's the best part of a home football day?
Being "in the mix" after we win ;)

• Who do you like lining up against in practice?
They graduated, but going up against Adam Scott and Justice Shelton-Mosley were exceptional receivers and got me better.

• Who has the best nickname on the team, and why?
J-5's just because he's a dude.

• Do you have a nickname?
Everyone has called me Chomp since day one.

• How has playing football at Harvard better prepared you for life?
It's definitely taught me punctuality... Besides that, it has made a better teammate and leader, both of which can be easily transferred into the workplace and the "real world."

• What do you think when you hear Harvard's mission statement: 'Education Through Athletics'?
For me, this could not be any closer to what my experience has been. A college education is not just what you learn in your classroom, but also what you learn about yourself and other humans through your interactions. I think the Harvard football team is one of the most diverse group of men on campus. What I have learned about them through interaction and with them through trial on the field will never be forgotten. We go into a battle every week and come out of it with scars, but also with new knowledge about ourselves and each other.

• What do you want your Harvard legacy to be?
I want to be known as a player who inspired others to perform to their potential and brought the juice day in and day out.

• If you weren't playing football, you would be…
Making more music.

• What is your favorite football memory?
Running back a kick return on the first play against my school's rival in high school.

• What are your favorite places to eat in the square?
El Jefe's is classic, but Oggi's is my favorite in the square.

• If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
Jesus Christ, Kurt Cobain, Jack London

• Best football movie of all-time? Why?
Remember the Titans has just always resonated with me.

• If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
Brooks Koepka; I've always wanted to be better at golf, plus he makes ridiculous money playing a leisure sport. Guy has it set.

• If you could go back, what's one piece of advice you would give to yourself as a freshman?
Hindsight is always 20/20 so there is always going to be some minor things here and there, but I am content with how my time here has been and wouldn't change a thing.

• Who has the best dance moves on the team? The worst?
This one is tough and may make some people mad, but I'm going to give it to B.J. Watson and Devin Darrington. The worst has to go to John Jenkins just because he's the only bad dancer that I see try (props to him, though).

• Your favorite 'Murph'-ism (saying or quote from Coach Murphy)?
Not really a quote, but I've never heard anyone pronounce the days of the week like he does.