Eugene, Ore. -- Brock Thomas practices in near silence. But his game speaks for itself. He's not loud on the practice field, but he makes sure to verbalize what he needs to, when he needs to.
"I'm pretty quiet but I've been trying my best to become a vocal leader to help the team out."
With a quick release, fast feet and an athletic frame, it's sometimes hard to not draw a comparison to another quiet Sheldon QB with a big arm. Brock Thomas never crossed paths with Justin Herbert when the latter was a three star recruit playing for the Irish. But the way Herbert carries himself, from his days at the University of Oregon to the NFL, is something that Thomas likes to emulate.
"You just gotta be as calm as possible. I think that shows a lot to the team and everyone rallies together and that helps in the long run."
Thomas' offensive coordinator, Jordan Johnson, coached Herbert as did his father Marty. When Thomas first started learning the Sheldon offense, he would go back to Herbert's Hudl video to see how he did certain things. But head coach Josh Line thinks of another quarterback when he thinks of a model leader for Thomas to take influence from.
"Joey Harrington was aware of how people were doing," Line says of his former Oregon teammate.
Line was a part of the Duck backfield that included Onterrio Smith and was helmed by Harrington. Those early 2000's glory years helped set in motion the Oregon that many know today. And Line sees his former quarterback as a leadership study for his current one.
"You have to set small goals. Like I challenged Brock to have lineman dinner at his house."
And if those lessons stick, along with Thomas' commitment to leadership, the Irish could have something very special.
Brock has a chance to be as good a leader as we've ever had here.
Which brings on mantle of responsibility Thomas is ready to handle.
" It means a lot. It's pretty cool," Thomas says. "I remember watching those guys and they were super good and I've got some pretty big shoes to fill."