Mickens and Smith are now gone and Jones is penciled in as a starter but Brad Jones knows others want what he wants.
BI: Brad, this is the last August for you in a Bearcats uniform. What's it been like for you?
"I've been sitting around waiting my turn as I had some great players in front of me. I've really never been able to show the type of ability I had on the field as I've waited my turn."
BI: You came in with some of the guys out of high school like Mike Mickens. How hard was it for you to be a back-up?
"It was hard coming from high school and being the guy (a star) and taking a back seat or supporting role. But they helped me a lot and I feel like it helped me be a more patient football player because I've learned I'm not going to get all the breaks."
BI: Do you feel you guys left some things on the table at the end of last season?
"As far as being Big East Champs that was great, but going to the Orange Bowl and losing was real disappointing so that has been a lot of guys motivation to get back to a BCS game and not settle for anything less."
BI: I've spoken with Andre Revels and Marcus Waugh about everyone looking at you guys as being very good because of the loss of ten guys on defense. But you've got to look at it with all the guys that can play. What do you feel about this teams defense?
"I don't look at this year as a rebuilding year. This is a reloading year because we've got guys that can play and have played. It's not like there are 10 or 11 guys taking the field that have never played a down before. We have 10 or 11 guys that are three year letter winners and have played key moments in big games like the West Virginia game."
BI: This is your last August in the football program; reflect on what has happened here since you arrived on campus as one of the first guys to buy into the dream of this program being a major player in the BCS and Big East.
"My first year here we didn't really have much. I can remember going to Camp Higher Ground and the coaches beating the team into the ground to make them tougher. Now, with Coach Kelly here it's about giving and taking. If we go out there and work and pay the cost to be great he'll layoff and let us relax a little and take it easy on us for a few days. But the program is like night-and-day since I came here."
BI: You have to be excited about what you've seen the past couple of years as guys like John Bowie, Mike Mickens and others were drafted into the league. You've got to feel good about the chances you'll have to prove yourself this season and do the same.
"I feel I've got more than just a good shot, I've got a great shot. This is like a job interview as I'm going to go out there and be consistent using my size, my speed and my strength. My play will speak for itself and as long as I go out and be consistent there is no doubt I'll be drafted like they were."
BI: What are your goals for this year?
"Really I just want to be a consistent player while being a leader showing the young guys the way to work and how to win. And I want to be a Big East Champion again.