Q and A With Football Seniors William Small and Tim Thannum
By Chris Mitchell
Sports Information Director
What made you choose to come to Washington University?
William Small: The decision was actually very easy for me. In addition to the stunning campus and that everything was so student friendly, WashU provides a great education, especially in the sciences, which is what I’m studying. When I found out how successful the football team was and how tight knit the guys were, I knew WashU was the right fit.
Tim Thannum: An opportunity to be a NCAA athlete and a student at Washington University was too good to pass up. I appreciated the way the University cared about me and my family with the chance to study at a top tier university. The deciding factor was the environment which the coaches and players create here. All the class and positive energy of Bear football made me realize that I needed to be a part of it.
What does it mean to you to be a student-athlete at Washington University?
WS: Being a student-athlete at WashU has definitely been challenging. The tough work load along with the time commitment of football has led to some sleepless nights. That being said, going through it with fellow student-athletes who all are extremely intelligent and take pride in representing this school has made for an enjoyable experience. It means a lot to be considered a part of such a high caliber community.
TT: Student-athletes have the privilege to represent our school throughout the nation. Besides that, we are just like the rest of the student body. Many of the players are involved in student organization outside of athletics with many in leadership positions. I am involved in NSPE and IEEE on campus. Washington University provides the opportunity to exist as a true student-athlete.
How do you balance your schedule between football and school?
WS: At first, balancing work and football was difficult because, coming from high school, you don’t realize how much work it takes to truly be successful. Once I accumulated enough time management and organizational skills, both commitments became much less daunting and I was able to manage them effectively.
TT: Discipline. Lots of discipline. I appreciate that Washington University treats student-athletes the same as everyone. However, I actually find it easier to study during football season. Because of the limited time, there are only enough hours to study instead of procrastinating. Washington University is too good of an opportunity to pass by. Luckily, a lot of the guys on the team study in like fields so we can band together to keep each other accountable.
What is the most important role you have on the offensive line?
TT: This year my role changed as I became the guy with the most experience on the line. In years past, there was Dave Mackey and Joe Rhein who would lead by example every week. With Ryan, Tom and Rob, we are able to lead a very talented young group of guys. I could only hope to be as influential on the underclassmen as Joe and Dave were on me.
Talk about being selected as a team captain. What does that role mean to you?
WS: It has probably been one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of my life. The fact that I was chosen to lead by my teammates, who are all extremely accomplished both on and off the field, is what made it such a great honor. It’s been easy leading a group of natural-born leaders who already expect so much from themselves. There’s no group of guys I’d rather play my last year of football with.
Looking back on your career, what is your favorite football memory at Washington University?
WS: Upsetting Wabash when they were ranked in the top 25 my sophomore year has been my favorite victory. Not only did both offense and defense have outstanding games that day, but we dominated in special teams as well. The excitement we had that game and the momentum we carried with us for the rest of the season is something I’ll never forget. However, there is nothing better than our position dinners every Thursday and that will be the thing I miss most about football at WashU. It’s a great chance for us to relax and take our minds off of football and school.
TT: My favorite memory was of my freshman year when all of the linemen in my class got to go out for two plays against Rhodes College. All we did was run QB sneak but for those two plays, but we were representing Washington University. We gained four yards on the two runs, but it was a great experience and the start of our careers.
What are your future plans upon graduation from Washington University?
WS: I plan to take a year off after college to do some traveling and some community service work. In that time, I’ll be applying to medical school with the hopes of becoming a surgeon.
TT: I am seeking employment in the field of electrical engineering or robotics. I am excited for the next step of my life.