Jones to Encounter Many Creatures in San Diego

Prior to their Sunday practice in San Diego, ASU's defensive tackle Shane Jones talked about looking forward to seeing animals in the Zoo later that day, as well as other types of large beings on the playing field come Friday.

"Out of all the things we're doing in San Diego, I'm really looking forward to going to the Zoo." Said the JC transfer from Sacramento. Nevertheless, he said that the team is disciplined enough to put all the fun they're going to have this week in perspective. "We're coming here to take care of business, and win a game on Friday. The coaches talked about how this bowl game is a reward, but that we also came for a reason – and that's the win a Football game." Jones added that the fact that the team won't have curfew until Thursday night, shows how much the coaches trust the players to discipline themselves, and balance the fun and business aspects of this trip.

Despite the rain that greeted the Devils at the practice field yesterday, the junior was pleased at the pace of practice. "It was a real crisp practice. It was a lot like the practices back home, we were working on finishing our game plan implementation. We're gonna spend the rest of the week polishing it off." ASU's front four, and the defensive tackles in particular, are bound to be the key component for the Sun Devils' defensive game plan against the power running of Kansas State. "After I'm gonna check out the animals in the Zoo today, it's gonna be time to get ready for the real big ones in the Holiday Bowl (smile)…They're a hard nose and old school team, that's just gonna grind it on the ground all day. I'm looking forward to facing the best running game we've seen all year. This is the type of challenge that made me want to come play here in the Pac-10."

Like many JC transfers, it was a rocky start for Shane Jones' ASU career. "I had the get the ‘JC' out of me. I had to learn the hard way that I can't just show up to practice and expect to start and play well on Saturday. It took a few weeks into the season and the coaches talking to me about this to realize that." In actuality, it was eight weeks into the season that Jones' improved practice habits and performance on game day earned him his first start. The defensive tackle started against Oregon, and never relinquished that spot ever since. Consequently, 22 of his 41 total tackles took place in those last five games.

Shane Jones regrets that he couldn't have had a more consistent season, but realizes that his strong finish in the later part of the 2002 campaign is a positive building block for next year. "I'm gonna work hard to stay the starter, and just getting better in general. We want to get to the Rose Bowl and that means that everybody including myself needs to improve our game." For now, the Sun Devils' defender will work on taming some Wildcats in Qualcomm Park later this week…

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