ONE-ON-ONE: New Cal OL Coach Brandon Jones

Brandon Jones goes in-depth with BT on the topics of recruiting, his coaching philosophy, just how he got the Cal job and more in this special one-on-one with the new Bears' offensive line coach.

On Monday, the California football program announced what had already been widely reported: Its new offensive line coach – and run game coordinator – would be former East Carolina coach Brandon Jones. On Tuesday, Jones chatted one-on-one with BearTerritory about how he got the job, recruiting and more.

RYAN GORCEY: I’m sure you’ve been incredibly busy over the last few days …
Brandon Jones: Aw, man. Yeah. It’s been nonstop. But, I’ve enjoyed it so far. I’m just trying to get situated.

RG: Have you been on any of the offensive line in-home visits?
BJ: I’ve just been trying to find a place to lay my head at night. I’m going to go out recruiting today (Tuesday), and go do a little bit of that, then get back here for our big recruiting weekend.

RG: How much have you talked with the recruits and the commits, and let them know that you’re the guy, and what’s the reaction been?
BJ: I’ve talked to them all quite a bit. They’ve been really excited about me, and what I bring to the program. I’ve had good conversations with all of them, so I’m just anxious to get them in here.

RG: You’ve played under head coach Sonny Dykes, and you coached in that same system at Texas Tech. What are you bringing to the program?
BJ: I think the biggest thing is that I’ve had successful offensive linemen. We’re physical. My biggest thing is that I want to help in the run game department, and make sure I protect our big-time quarterback. It’s just getting polished and paying attention to the details. It’s a tough group. I had the opportunity to meet with the kids yesterday (Monday), and I gave them kind of the groundwork of why we’re going to be successful, going forward.

RG: How did you wind up getting the job? Was it your Texas Tech connections with Sonny Dykes?
BJ: It was at the convention (American Football Coaches Association in Louisville, Ky.). I actually had a chance to meet Pierre (Cal running backs coach Pierre Ingram) and I voiced my interest in the job. He talked to Tony (Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin), and I interviewed the next day. I had a great interview with Tony, and it was pretty early in the morning, and the rest is kind of history. I went back and forth, on whether to take the job I left a good situation there (at East Carolina) with four returners, but talking to Sonny and Tony and some of the guys that I look up to at the coaching convention, it was a no-brainer, and an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

RG: ECU came in and gave you the Run Game Coordinator title right before you got the Cal job. Am I reading the situation right, in that they bumped you up to try and keep you in Greenville, NC?
BJ: Yeah. That was a big part, and I love coach Ruffin [McNiell]. He gave me an opportunity when no one else would. I owe all my success to him, and he didn’t want me to leave. He voiced that to me quite a bit, but it was a great opportunity. I feel like Cal is right there, on the cusp of being a powerhouse in the Pac-12, and I wanted to be a part of it.

RG: How quickly did you go from interview to getting the job offer?
BJ: You know, I think I interviewed on a Tuesday, and I was offered the job on Thursday and I accepted it on Friday. It happened really fast.

RG: How did you and Pierre Ingram cross paths initially?
BJ: We had a mutual friend. I was having dinner (at the convention), actually, and he swung by and I got to meet him. We really hit it off, he had a conversation with Tony and it just took off from there. I’m excited about the opportunity in itself, and I’m going to do my part that we have a good offensive line.

RG: What kind of relationship did you have with Dykes, and how much of an impact will your having played in this type of offense help when you can finally get your hands on these guys?
BJ: We were obviously cordial. Him and my offensive line coach are really good friends, and they still are, to this day. I remember he’d get after those kids quite a bit, coaching the outside receivers. I have nothing but good experiences with him, from what I remember. I’ve been hit in the head so much that my memory’s not what it used to be. He did a great job, and he coached a lot of All-American and All-Conference kids there, and I know he recruited well. That’s what he’s done here, also.

RG: What would you say is your coaching philosophy, and the underpinnings of the way you go about your business on the field and in the meeting room?
BJ: I think the biggest thing that my coaching philosophy is based on is the trust between the player and the coach. I have to trust those guys to be accountable, and dependable and do everything right. I’m a real stickler for details, and in order to be successful as an offensive line, you really have to be as tough physically as you are mentally tough. Those are the things that I hang my hat on, and those are the things that I’m going to demand of these kids. I think overall, I’ve been there. I know Zach [Yenser] was a young coach, like myself. I’m not going to ask those kids to do anything that I haven’t done at some point in my career. That’s what I stress to them. All the drill work, balancing school – which, I know they have to do a great job of, up here – and all the small things that I can really get out there and teach them and be a lot more hands on, more than maybe an older coach.

RG: You were born and raised in Texas, but you went to high school in Oregon?
BJ: My step-dad was a principal at Whitaker Middle School there in Kaiser, outside of Salem. I was there my junior and senior year.

RG: What kind of West Coast ties do you have, for recruiting purposes?
BJ: I think I know quite a few people in Oregon, still, especially that Salem area. I’ve got a few buddies that are in coaching up that way. I’ve come out here and recruited the L.A. JC’s, because we recruited nation-wide for offensive linemen. I feel that I’m young, I can interact with all different types of ethnic groups and I’m a people person, so I don’t feel recruiting, for me, is going to be a problem. I’m a likable guy, and I’m just ready to get out here and hit the road running. Top Stories