ASU Receiver Not Missing a Beat

After fall's first practice signal caller Rudy Carpenter singled out receiver Mike Jones as someone who had a good showing. The QB admitted that he was a little worried about what he would see from the junior, after not participating in spring practice due to injury and ASU baseball commitments. Jones on the other hand was confident he would do well despite the lay-off the last few months.

"A lot of folks thought I was gonna come in here and miss a step," said Mike Jones. "I was a little rusty at first, but in a couple of days I'll be back to where I'm suppose to be – maybe even better." His schedule last spring was one where he split his time between football and baseball (and injuries for some of that time period prevented him from participating in either). He stated that unless his role expands on the baseball team, he plans to keep the same spring schedule next year.

Jones said that it's been a thrill so far to play baseball for ASU, and his post-season experience a couple of months ago was a very memorable one to say the least. "It has always been a dream of mine to play college football and baseball, but playing in Omaha (in the College World Series) was unbelievable," he claimed. "I just get chills right now talking about it. Hopefully we get to do it next year again."

For now his focus is only on the gridiron, and specifically getting used to a new offensive scheme employed by Dennis Erickson and his staff. "We're running a lot routes that we didn't run last year," he remarked, "but they're similar to what we're doing and they're a lot easier. They're not complicated like the pro offense that Coach Koetter ran."

Even though he hauled in some beautiful catches on Thursday night, Jones humbly rejects any notion that he's playing well now. "I'm still trying to catch up and I'm out of shape," he commented. "I'm catching the ball well, but I could get better at everything and that's why I come out here in practice everyday."

When suggested that he has a knack for making the difficult catches, he once again showed humility and replied: "I just try to get my hands on every ball that comes my way and bring it in. If it's out of reach I'll dive for it. If there are three guys on me, I'll take a hit for it. I just gotta do what I got to do."

In 2006 Jones started off the season fairly strong with nine receptions, 113 yards and one touchdown in three games. He looked like the dominant receiver the ASU offense desperately needed last season. However once he got injured, it became a setback for Jones as the season progressed. As a then-sophomore, he was somewhat more battle tested than the rest of the younger players in his position, which did place him, albeit by default, as a leader.

As with any leader, the position came with a great sense of responsibility. "If anybody felt any pressure it was probably myself," Jones admitted in a previous interview, "because I had to play more than one position with a lot of guys getting inured. So I was the only guy left with all the young guys and I had to bounce around a lot."

These days Jones should feel more comfortable, as he's entrenched (for the time being) as the starting ‘X' receiver for the maroon and gold. Perhaps this is the reason that allows him to focus on loftier goals. "All I wanna to do is play in a BCS bowl. If I get one catch and play in a BCS bowl that would be great," he said. "If I get 100 catches and play in a BCS bowl that would even be better (smile). Hopefully I have a productive season and we're one of the best teams in the Pac-10."

If fall's first practice was any indication, productivity should be the least of Mike Jones' worries…

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