05/24/2012 2:38 PM
Photo courtesy of Gary Peterson Photography
Defensive Back Terrance Sanders won’t go down without a fight. He currently leads the AFL with 68 tackles and an average of 24.1 yard per kick return. His outstanding performances over the last several weeks have earned him JLS Ironman of the Week and National Guard MVP of the Week honors, as well as the Riddell Defensive Player of the Week award in each of the last two weeks. AFNation’s Chelsea Gervase recently caught up with the Spokane Shock star for this edition of “Beyond the Wall.”
Chelsea Gervase: What is triggering you being so hot right now?
Terrance Sanders: I am focused and really paying attention to film and taking advantage of applying things that I have learned from film and practice. This has allowed me to be more focused and has allowed me to be freer as I am going into the games. Not many things are running through my mind besides making the plays and getting the calls. I am out there playing faster because I am not thinking too hard which allows me to make my plays that are coming my way.
CG: You lead the AFL in quite a few statistical categories. How do you feel about that?
TS: Basically it’s a testament to the offseason that I have put together. I work out about four or five days a week, at times down in Arizona. I am not surprised because I work hard at achieving my goals.
CG: You’ve received a few awards over these past weeks, including Defensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row. That’s quite an accomplishment. Were you expecting these awards?
TS: Based on the statistics, I was expecting them, but before that I would have never thought I would be in that position. But like I said, I am not surprised by the position I am in because I know the work I have put in during the offseason, so I know what I did and it’s just setting in for me now.
CG: Where would you rank yourself amongst other AFL defensive backs?
TS:(laughter) You really have to ask me that? Well if I have to say, since I lead the League in tackles and I am second in interceptions I would have to rank myself in the top two.
CG: Like you just said, you excel specifically in your interceptions and tackles. Have you set any other goals for the rest of the season?
TS: I had a list of goals coming into the season and I work hard at achieving them. My goals were 100 tackles, 16 interceptions, 28 passes broken up, and six kick return touchdowns so I am well on my way to achieving all my goals set for this year.
CG: You guys had a big win against Philly last week. Are the Shock back on track?
TS: Oh yeah, that game definitely put us back on track and helped us build momentum. The game before that, we started that momentum and were able to take it through that game and build on it. So now we have to double that momentum going up against Iowa this week and we are definitely looking forward to keeping that momentum rolling for a third week.
CG: Do you have any pregame rituals?
TS: My pregame rituals are to get up in the morning and study even more film on my opponent so everything is fresh in my mind on game day. Other than that I am not superstitious (laughter).
CG: Is there a defensive back in the AFL that you would compare yourself to?
TS: I don’t think I would compare myself to one, but another guy that I like watching film on is Micheaux Robinson. I like the way he plays the game and how he is aggressive and jumping the route, I wouldn’t compare myself to him but I like the way he plays.
CG: Did you have a favorite NFL player or team growing up?
TS: My favorite player growing up was definitely Deion Sanders and the 49ers were my favorite team.
CG: Your fans recently made you MVP of the week in the AFL. What is it like playing in front of such passionate and enthusiastic fans?
TS: Oh man, it is excellent being able to play in front of these fans out here in Spokane; I think that they are the best fans in the world. We have no other professional sports team so we are the professional sports team out here and they show us so much love and I definitely appreciate every fan that I have out here.
CG: You and the team take on the Iowa Barnstormers this weekend. It was a tough loss the last time you saw them. How do you feel about your preparation for this weekend’s game?
TS: We had a tremendous week of practice and the intensity level was way up for this week. The feeling is a lot like the past two weeks. It’s a great feeling around the area and there is a big buzz going on out here so I think that we are definitely ready for the task at hand and we look forward to the opportunity.
CG: What’s the best advice you can give about football in general?
TS: The best advice about football is that things may not go your way throughout the course of a game or throughout the course of a career but just keep your head up, stay focused, work hard and you can achieve what you believe.
CG: Thank you for your time and good luck this weekend against the Barnstormers!
TS: Thanks, I appreciate it.