Tight end Tom Sullivan talks to the Daily Illini in this week’s Q & A

By Courtney Linehan

Tight End Tom Sullivan is a redshirt freshman who saw his first career start against Rutgers last weekend. After practice Wednesday, he took a few minutes to talk to the Daily Illini about everything from football to his former life as a bricklayer.

Question: How nerve-wracking was it playing in front of a huge crowd for the first time a couple weeks ago?

Answer: I’m always nervous. Even when I didn’t play at all last year, you’re always nervous running out onto the field, seeing the crowd, preparing all week. You get nervous just because you’re part of the team, nervous for everybody else out there. Actually getting out onto the field, there’s nerves but you prepare for it. The coaches get you ready to play in that environment. Once I got in there I didn’t think about it; I just reacted.

Q: How pumped up is the team to go into this game and kind of bounce back after last weekend?

A: Oh, we’re really excited. We were really down after that game. It wasn’t us out there; we know we can play with them, we know we can play with anyone. After the game we kind of looked back and were just stunned at how we performed. This week we’re really looking at it as a chance to come back and show what we can do.

Q: I understand you worked as a bricklayer. What is the trick to being a good bricklayer?

A: A lot of practice. I’ve been doing it for two years, so the first year I didn’t really get to do it. I got to mix cement, do all the dirty work and move everything. It takes a long time to learn how to do it. I’m still not all the way up there; it’s not easy.

Q: You went to Marist for high school. Was there any rivalry with Mt. Carmel, where fellow Illini Frank Lenti went to high school?

A: Oh yeah, all the Catholic schools are rivals. On the playing field we’re all huge rivals, but off the field we’re all best friends because we’re all from Catholic schools.

I didn’t play against Frank, he’s older than me. But we give each other a hard time. He was one of the first guys I talked to here, just because he’s from that area, too.