College coach lauds Darian Thompson's work ethic

Posted May 17, 2016

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin discusses Giants rookie Darian Thompson's football mindset:

Since Darian Thompson received the call on the second day of the draft, it’s been the Giants' coaches doing all the listening.

The third-round choice out of Boise State made himself heard at rookie minicamp earlier this month, catching the attention of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo by barking out orders from the secondary.


“That’s the first thing I look for in a safety,” Spagnuolo said at the time. “Will you be loud? Are you not afraid to make a mistake? I think that’s huge and that stuck out a little bit. We’ve got a long way to go, though.”

That comment came as no surprise to Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin when he called into “Big Blue Kickoff Live” on

“Well, it doesn’t,” he said. “First impressions are huge. And one thing about Darian is he’s going to show up prepared. He may not know everything, but he’s going to know as much as he can each and every time he goes to a practice. That’s really been how he’s operated ever since he’s been at Boise State. Even prior to when he got here, we knew that about him from his high school days all the way into Boise State. He’s just a guy that prepares, he understands it, and I think that’s what you see on tape. You see a guy that’s got great anticipation of what the offense is doing. Why do you get that? You get that by studying and understanding what they’re trying to do to you.”

Harsin went on to say you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger bookworm than Thompson, and the hours of studying paid off throughout his career.

In his final season, Thompson became the Mountain West's all-time interceptions leader with 19, passing the mark set at Utah by three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro safety Eric Weddle of the Baltimore Ravens. Harsin and Thompson would carve out time to talk at the end of every week before the Broncos took the field.

“He had a really good feel of what he thought was coming his way,” said Harsin, a former Boise State quarterback. “And it did. It happened in the games. I just think his recognition of patterns, sets, and different things that he needs to be able to see when he goes out there and plays has really helped him trust his instincts. When he didn’t believe something, he went after the ball and it showed up.

“You don’t have that many career interceptions if you’re not anticipating what’s coming. And then I think just that trust factor that when he did see it, he could recognize it, react, and go get after it. On top of it, being a physical player to go make some of those plays happen. Just a very good player who studies the game, does a great job of applying that on the field, and hopefully that continues.”


Thompson comes into a competition to play opposite Landon Collins, last year’s second-round pick who became the first Giants rookie safety to start an entire 16-game season. They will be in a room that also includes Cooper Taylor and three young pros who missed all of last season due to injuries: Nat Berhe, Bennett Jackson and Mykkele Thompson.
A depth charge will unfold in the coming months, beginning next Monday with the first of 10 organized team practice activities (OTAs).

“I think the coaches there, I’m certain, will figure all that out better than I can in their system,” Harsin said. “But from what I’ve seen, he’s a guy that will go out there and direct. He can play down in the box. He can play free safety and roam. I think wherever they decide to use him, one of the big keys to his success is his communication skills. So as long as he’s able to talk, communicate, help other guys get lined up or at least communicate the calls on defense, to me that’s probably where he’s most valuable.”