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Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Four downs with Chase Thomas

By Kevin Gemmell

Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas talks about the team keeping its composure with all of the distractions heading into Saturday's game against Notre Dame.

First down: This is the third straight emotional game for you guys. How is the team holding up?

Thomas: We're good. We just can't be distracted by everything. The Senior Day, the pro combat jerseys. We just have to go out and focus on the getting the W and closing out the season.

Second down: Is Senior Day a distraction?

Thomas: Sort of. You get caught up on where your parents are at, all of the things that go along with that. But I think we have a mature enough team to handle all of that stuff.

Third down: Notre Dame lost one of its emotional leaders in Jonas Gray. You guys know something about that. How much will that impact this game?

Thomas: They still have a great running back in Cierre Wood, so they will be OK in the running game. But when you lose someone -- we lost an emotional leader in Shayne Skov -- you have to be able rebound and other guys have to step up and I think that's what we were able to do for the most part. They should be fine.

Fourth down: What are some of the other challenges Notre Dame presents on offense?

Thomas: They have a great wide receiver (Michael Floyd). They move him around a lot at the line of scrimmage and find ways to get him open. And like the teams we've played the last couple of weeks, they have a big, physical offensive line that is going to be a real challenge for us.