March 29, 2012

Insider Report: Jones comfortable with weak side

Although he's not changing positions as drastically as a teammate like Nick Moody, junior Christian Jones was visibly excited about his move from strong side linebacker over to the weak side. To Jones, the new role feels like something of a positional homecoming.

"I'm actually a true linebacker," he said. "The (weak) and the (middle) are kind of the same, they're both interchangeable spots. I like if I can be in there, able to make more plays and actually be a linebacker."

Jones is right when he regards playing weak side as significantly different. In defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' schemes, his strong side duties would space him away from the line of scrimmage to account for slot receivers and spread looks. Now that he is in Nigel Bradham's old spot, Jones will find himself operating in the box, helping middle linebackers Vince Williams and Telvin Smith make plays at the point of attack.

Case in point: Bradham registered 30 more tackles than did Jones in Stoops' 2011 defense.

Although he's currently practicing in the 235-pound range, Jones told reporters will play this fall right around the 240 mark, a size equal to that of new segment-mate Nick Moody. More than size, Jones expressed excitement about Moody because of the potential for more athleticism in the linebacker group.

"Nick's a smart guy, he picks up things quick," explained Jones. "Some stuff, if he gets confused he asks me about it and I help him out with it. But he has it on lock, he can deal with it."

As for the other side of the ball, despite having just a handful of practices to look at the offensive line, Jones offered glowing reviews for coach Rick Trickett's young group. In addition to the line "moving great" as a whole, Jones added his name to the list of those impressed by the work of new left tackle Cam Erving.

"Cam looks fantastic out there," Jones said. "I think as they (all) keep progressing, it's going to be great to watch how they go."

As for Jones himself, he has a progression of his own to worry about.

"Right now I think I'm doing fine at it," he said. "So if I keep going, it's going to be great."

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