Jones Likes Progress of Bearcats

In his first trip to Camp Higher Ground, University of Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones has found the Bearcats home away from home is a special place allowing for concentration on the things needed to prepare his team for the start of another successful season.

With 13 practices in the books, Jones has seen progress in his team while still looking for consistency on a daily basis. While many of the spots on the two-deep have started to take shape, Jones knows the importance of those working hard to find their roles for the betterment of the team.

"Each day I see the progress in the makings of our football team. And right now we're looking for consistency, consistency in everything. But the biggest thing is in our level or our performance each and every day. We use a term in our football family called IRU (Indisputed Role Understanding) and right now everyone is forming their own roles as what they'll have for this football team. Again, we're making great strides, great progress each and every day. Next week is going to be critical in the continued development of our football team."

With the Bearcats trip to the West Coast just a couple of weeks away, Jones feels guys are starting to step up and show the mental aspects to be a successful team.

"I'm excited about this group of young men. Ever since the day we walked in, they've embraced every challenge that we've laid before them, and this training camp has been not an exception to that at all. We've challenged them and the days we think they are going to struggle (sore bodies) we test their mental toughness and they keep coming back."

While Jones is happy with how his team looks, he knows that down the road some areas will need to be addressed to keep the Bearcats program on the rise.

"The biggest thing for us is depth and for us to grow this football program recruiting must take shape and form in our depth, especially in our offensive and defensive lines and our front seven especially at the linebacker position."

One player who is being looked upon to make big strides in his development is offensive lineman Sean Hooey. The Michigan native has seen continued growth since arriving on campus and now must be ready for the battles of the Big East.

"Sean continues to progress and he's going to get a lot of reps in our scrimmage on Saturday. But watching him on film today the development of his body and his athleticism and were he's come from since the minute we walked in he's really made strides. And for us to take the next step he needs to be a main contributor this year and provide depth along the offensive line."

Like previous Bearcat head coaches, Jones has learned about the secrets of taking a team away to Camp Higher Ground.

"I think first of all, the amenities. A lot of times as a coach you worry about going away and getting off campus and if you're going to take a back seat with your practice fields or your meeting rooms. They are unbelievable, when you look at two-turf practice fields, you look at the meeting rooms and the food they eat every day, and they are second to none. That is the first thing, then I think you have no distractions and it is all football. So these players from the minute they wake up to the minute they go to bed at night are spending time together. It has been a chance for us to grow as a football team. Especially in our first year I thought it was critical that they get to know us as coaches as people. I have enjoyed spending the time with our team and I think they would tell you the same thing."

While small in size, Jones has been very impressed by his senior members of the Bearcats program and the way they go about their business.

"I always say seniors are different individuals, they either play their best football or their worst football. And I'll tell you what, our senior class has really stepped it up. We had a Big East officiating crew here the past two days, and they were amazed at how much our older kids are coaching our younger players."

The Bearcats will continue working towards their third Big East Championship with a scrimmage and family day on Saturday, then a day off on Sunday as they travel to Kings Island to meet Bearcats fans in their annually fun day of camp.

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