Keeping up with the Jones

A lot of eyes have been watching Demetrius Jones since he first arrived on the University of Cincinnati campus last year. Injury kept the Notre Dame transfer from competing for a quarterback job last season, and with the rotation of UC signal callers all but set in stone for this season, Jones decided to help the team in another way while also getting up off the bench and onto the field.

With spring practice about to wrap up, most fans know of Demetrius Jones' switch from the crowded ranks of quarterback to the wide open spaces of linebacker. While this spring has been the first time he's lined up at linebacker, Jones isn't a total stranger to playing on the defensive side of the ball.

"I played safety in high school," says Jones, who was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for 2005 in Illinois as a quarterback out of Morgan Park High School in Chicago, Illinois. "I was pretty good; I think that if that would have been my main position I probably would have been offered a scholarship at safety."

Jones has impressed coaches, teammates, and onlookers this spring with a quick and smooth transition to the linebacker position. Though still early, Jones feels the move is proving to be a success as well.

"I think it's been going pretty good," says Jones. "I've been moving up the depth chart, increasing my reps, and making more plays throughout the scrimmages and practice. It's just a big adjustment overall, but I think I've come along pretty quick."

Head coach Brian Kelly knew Jones had the athletic ability to play the position, but even he's been surprised at how well Jones has come along.

"The guy that keeps coming on is Demetrius Jones; he's all over the field," Kelly says. "He's just extremely active right now; he's a starter in our third down package."

The idea of being an active member of the team and a possible starter is exactly what Jones was looking for, a chance at getting onto the field, where he feels he can bring more to the table than holding a clipboard on the sidelines.

"Tony (Pike)'s solidified himself as one of our guys, and the coaches are always looking to upgrade the team and they sit down and talk everyday and they see what players that aren't playing could be playing at other positions," Jones says. "That's basically what it comes down to. I've got two years of eligibility left, and I think I could be doing a more than just sitting behind trying to compete for a quarterback spot."

Having been a quarterback for so long, Jones still finds himself thinking like a quarterback might. That can help him he says, but he doesn't really find himself with the time to think about what the opposing quarterback may be thinking out on the field.

"It helps a lot but to a certain extent. Everything's happening so fast," Jones says. "Your IQ of what's going on is better, but I'm in a clusterf*ck right now, everything's just going real fast. So it helps to a certain extent, but you've still got to have a defensive mentality to play on that side."

Jones says he has a natural knack for the ball and likes to make tackles, both good traits to have as an outside linebacker. How does making a defensive play feel as compared to making a play on the offensive side of the ball, though?

"Making a tackle is better than completing a pass, but nothing can take the joy away from throwing a touchdown," Jones says. "I don't think there's any greater feeling than scoring a touchdown."

What about scoring a touchdown from the linebacker position?

"I had a pick-six the other day," says Jones about an earlier spring practice. "It would be a first time feeling in a college game, though. I haven't had a pick-six since high school, and when I get one then you can ask me about it and I'll gladly tell you about it."

Until then, Jones says fans can look for him out there on the field making plays and trying to get the Bearcats back to the Big East championship.

"It's more about the team than it is the individual," Jones says.

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