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Assistant coach returns to hometown

Former NFL prospect offers helping hand

mlastra.advocate@gmail.com

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 12:03

Injuring his knee may have kept him out of the NFL, but Thomas Byrd will continue to have an impact in the world of football.

Provided the opportunity two weeks ago by Comet football coach Alonzo Carter, the former Boise State University center and San Pablo resident is currently helping coach the team’s offensive line in the offseason.

Carter said that as of now Byrd is not the official offensive line coach, he is simply volunteering his time to help the team. However, he may get the full-time coaching position depending on the status of current offensive line coach Scott Glicksberg.

“I’ve enjoyed being able to help Carter every day,” Byrd said. “I like the players on the team and the convenience of coming to campus since the college is down the street from my house.”

The 22-year-old is a former player of Carter’s at McClymonds High School in Oakland, playing there from 2005-07 before receiving a full athletic scholarship to Boise State.

Carter described Byrd as a tough player with a lot of determination, despite being undersized at his position.

“Byrd came to Mack in his junior year. He wasn’t the biggest guy on the field, but he had heart,” Carter said. “He was always asking good questions in practice. It was a pleasure coaching him.”

At Boise State, Byrd was a redshirt-freshman in 2007, but began the next year as the starting center. He was a starter all four of his seasons as a Bronco.

He was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection in his junior year and was recognized as one of the nation’s best centers entering his senior year.

Byrd started 36 consecutive games before injuring his knee in the Broncos third game of the 2011 season, thus ending his senior run.

“It was tough being a four-year starter and having that type of injury. It put a hold on my season,” Byrd said.

After Byrd received his bachelor’s degree in communications this past winter, Carter, who was aware of Byrd’s interest in coaching, decided to offer him a chance to help the Comet players with  strength and conditioning training.

So far this offseason, Byrd has emphasized the importance of time management, holding players accountable for putting in time- cards after their workouts.

“He’s one of those guys who will push you and test you as a football player,” sophomore defensive lineman Beroski Huguley said. “He is already making a big impact on this team with his organization. We have never been this organized prior to him coming here.”

Byrd said he is very excited to take on the coaching opportunity.

“It takes getting to know a coach to be able to determine what they think the definition of a leader is,” Byrd said.

“Since I played under Carter, I understand what it takes and I know what he wants out of his players.”

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