Going into the Bearcats battle against Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl, Jones knows he’s learned a lot but still has major work to reach the level of play he desires.
“I started ten games this year,” said Jones. “Last season was the first time playing and you kind of get your feet wet. But I feel as this season progressed I got better. In our last game I got a lot of action, probably the most action I got all season. But I know there is still room for improvement as I must keep getting better.”
While it would be easy for Jones to look at his current success and take a step back, he’s learned from those around him on the proper way to move forward.
“Growing on the field I went after the older guys and spoke with those who have played a lot,” he said. “On the field, you have to bring a working mentality every day. So I followed both defensive and offensive guys who have played the most and talked about what they do.”
Jones knows there was a time when Bearcat fans thought this year’s team was headed in the wrong direction because of the play of the defense. But those on the defensive side of the ball never looked to point fingers and came up with the mentality they hope will carry over into Saturday’s game against the Hokies.
“Midway through the season we didn’t look too good,” he said. “We gave away way too many yards and were ranked like last in the nation. However, as the season went along, we gained more confidence in each other and started practicing a lot better.
“In fact, we had two weeks were we didn’t give up any touchdowns. So we came out with a mentality we would get in a bowl game and would win the conference. Now it’s about winning the final game of the season.”
Jones and the Bearcats defense will look to finish the season on a strong note against the Hokies this Saturday at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.