Mike Jones takes his role as an ASU athlete very seriously and it is apparent on and off the field. After Wednesday's practice there was a line of future Sun Devil players with their little league jerseys and footballs ready to be signed by their idols. Jones was one of the last to mosey over to the entrance where fans and reporters were both trying to get a piece of him.
While he appeared a little confused at times whether to work his Sharpie magic on an unsuspecting football or speak, he is not confused about his role on the football team.
"We are here to make plays," Jones said. "That's what our job is; to catch the ball, make plays and do the best for our team." Jones did that last week against Oregon putting ASU in contention for their first half comeback. After his catch the junior had a particularly different celebration. He ran straight for the ASU bench, sat down and crossed his legs. It looked like someone was about to bring him a cup of tea and a scone instead of the common slaps to his helmet that he eventually got.
"Actually I got it from a guy that pays for the San Diego Chargers, his last name is Osgood," Jones said about the celebration. "I remember he made a big play on a kickoff and he ran straight to the sideline and crossed his legs and acted like he's been there before." Jones and ASU had certainly been there before.
Yet Jones said he did the celebration to spark the offense at a time when they were having bad luck. "We got off to a slow start," Jones said about the Oregon game. "Somebody had to set up and make a big play. We couldn't win the ball game with three points so hopefully, I would go in there and score the first touchdown," he said. Jones recognizes his position as a wide receiver on the field but says that his position is no important than any other.
Since receivers coach Eric Yarber has made his home in Tempe; Jones has seen real improvement in his game. "He pretty much exposes our talents," Jones said about Yarber. "He finds every little itty-bitty thing that triggers the best in us." For Jones that must be big plays at big times, because that has been his call more often than not. "I'm lucky to have a guy like that," Jones added.
The season has been successful for Jones. He said that as long as the team keeps winning, personal goals get pushed aside. "We knew what we were capable of," Jones said about the team. "As for myself, I knew I was going to be a big part of this offense and a big part of this team a lot more than I was last year. I'm having a great year. It's not exactly, individual wise, what I wanted but if we keep winning it doesn't really matter to me," he said.
His expectations have been about even with his pre-season estimation he said, adding that he didn't expect too much. "I have been in the end zone every time they have given me the ball except for maybe once or twice. But I have made the plays that I have had to and now we are 8-1," he added.
Nine games through the season now it's starting to feel like a different one all together in Tempe. The game plan for Jones will stay the same though, he said. "It's going to be a big part that I have to play, but everybody plays their part; all 11 of us on offense and defense," he said.
Jones loves playing his part for ASU football, as well as ASU baseball. "Everybody has been asking me whether I'm still going to play baseball or quit," Jones said with a smile. "I don't know where everybody got all these rumors from but I'm still on the baseball team. After graduation I don't really know. That is some time down the road. Right now all I'm focused on is football. When baseball comes I will be focused on baseball. When I have to make that decision with what I want to do with the rest of my life I will be ready." Good news for football and baseball fans alike.
So what about his thoughts on this weekend, you know, for the football fans? "We should win every game," Jones said triumphantly.
Jones Stands Up for ASU on, and Off the Field
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