Looking Back: Quarterback Derek Thompson
Thompson's Career Path Paralleled The Rise Of The McCarney-Era Mean Green
Jan. 21, 2014
Over the next few weeks, MeanGreenSports will sit down with some of the departing seniors from the 2013-14 North Texas football team for exit interviews, and we'll ask them to look back and reflect on their time with the Mean Green.
To begin, we sat down with quarterback Derek Thompson, coming off a Heart of Dallas Bowl victory where he was named the MVP. Thompson finished his career ranked second in school history in passes attempted, passes completed and passing yards, fourth touchdown passes, and fifth in passing efficiency.
MeanGreenSports: How do you want to be remembered as a North Texas football player?
DT: I want to be remembered as a quarterback that gave everything he had each time he stepped on the field. I want to be remembered as being the toughest guy to ever line up behind center. Throughout the adversity and hard times, I stuck around and took everything head on and continued forward. I want to be remembered as a bowl-champion quarterback.
MeanGreenSports: What was the biggest change involving the program during your time at North Texas?
DT: The biggest change would have to be the mutual respect and leadership between players and coaches. My senior year, everyone bought into the plan to win under Dan McCarney. That wasn't the case when I first got here.
MeanGreenSports: What was your most memorable play at North Texas?
DT: My most memorable play would have to be my 26-yard game-winning touchdown run to defeat a very good Ball State team. After being down as much as we were and to fight back and take the lead was very special to me. It will be a play I'll never forget.
MeanGreenSports: Outside of games, what memory will you and your teammates always talk about over the next 50 years?
DT: The family atmosphere in the locker rooms before and after practice, games, workouts, etc. When we weren't on the field sweating and bleeding together, we were always hanging out and giving a whole new meaning to "Mean Green Family."
MeanGreenSports: What single ingredient do you think was most important in turning around the team's success?
DT: Senior leadership. If you want to have a successful program, your seniors have to play their best football every single week. That sets the tone for the underclassmen to match. Coaches should never be the leaders. It's up to the players.
MeanGreenSports: What is one thing any of your coaches at North Texas told you that you will carry with you forever?
DT: If you can be successful on a football field with your teammates, you can be successful in life. The types of adversity and obstacles one will face on the field will prepare him for any adversity life throws his way.
MeanGreenSports: What is one goal, personal or team, that you didn't accomplish while at North Texas?
DT: I never won a conference championship and it lays in the back of my mind all the time.
MeanGreenSports: If you were starting a football team tomorrow and you could take one player that you played with at North Texas with you to start a team who would it be and why?
DT: I would have to say Brelan Chancellor. I've been around some really special players, but I don't think anyone made the kind of impact when he got the ball as Brelan did. He was so versatile and had that mindset that he wouldn't be denied, and that made him one of the greatest players to ever put on a UNT uniform. I was lucky to be able to throw him the ball for four years.
MeanGreenSports: If you could go back and replay one game during your North Texas career, which would it be?
DT: The bowl game against UNLV. It was such a huge game for our program, and it was a chance for the 2013 team to be remembered forever. The atmosphere was electric, and to be able to be named the game's MVP really made it a game I will never forget.