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September 9, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Jarvis Jones may not be Superman. Or is he?
His performance in Saturday's 41-20 win over Missouri certainly lends pause to consider the possibility.
"Jarvis is a great football player, an All-American and he may be the best football player in America. I'll be honest with you, he strained his groin in the middle of the week and really couldn't move around very well," head coach Mark Richt said. "We were just hoping he would be able to go. It bothered him the whole game. I know it might be hard to believe that but he sucked it up, played the whole game and made the very big plays when we needed him to the most. That's what great players do."
It was an effort Bulldog fans will be talking about for some time.
Besides making eight tackles, Jones sacked quarterback James Franklin once, forced a fumble and intercepted his first career pass, nearly scoring before being brought down at the 1 following a 21-yard return.
"I thought I was getting in," Jones smiled. "I thought I had it till that guy tripped me up."
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham certainly liked what he saw.
"This game is about 1-on-1 matchups, so we try to move Jarvis around. He knew what those matchups were, " Grantham said. "He's a guy who has great preparation, works his tail off and he's a team guy.
He's also very smart.
As he sat surrounded by reporters in Saturday night's post-practice session, Jones revealed another secret - he was able to pick up Franklin's snap count by the end of the first quarter, giving him an edge the Tigers couldn't afford to allow.
Not that he needed one.
"It made things easier," Jones said. "I had figured it out and he never changed. I pretty much knew what he was going to do."
Grantham said that's just what good players do.
"There's a lot of information on the field," he said. "You get some of the information in the film room, watching tape during the week but once you get out there there's always more information to pick up and the good players can pick it up and use it to their advantage. "
Tiger wide receiver T.J. Moe said he's seen Jones' kind before.
"Jones is very similar to Vonn Miller (former Texas A&M linebacker), who was in the Big 12," Moe said. "He's very good."
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel saw more of Jones than he cared to see.
"He's a great player," Pinkel said. "Going in, you try to contain the guy but he was still all over the field."
Basically, nothing the Tigers tried managed to slow the Columbus native down.
"You can't change your whole offense. Obviously, he is a great player," Pinkel added. "We saw him like that against everybody. You try to adjust calls you make, you try to get yourself into a position to get rid of the football or run the football or do different things. But give him credit. He is a great player."