Jones Talks 'Dawgs And More

In his first weekly press conference as Bearcats head coach, Butch Jones touched on several topics including going west for the first game, his team's depth and the first practice at the new facility.

Most head coaches would probably like their first game with a new team be at home against a weaker opponent, however, Butch Jones does not have that luxury. His Cincinnati team has to go across the country to face the Fresno St. Bulldogs on Saturday night.

Fresno St. is 6-0 in its last six season home openers and holds a 38-7 record at home under head coach Pat Hill.

Jones understands this to be a tough order, and praised the Bulldogs and several of their players.

"You look at their record at Bulldog Stadium and it's incredible," Jones said. "So they expect to win and it's going to be a difficult challenge. They're an extremely physical football team that's evidenced by their offensive and defensive lines, their returning starters and they are very, very skilled players so it's going a great, great challenge for us.

"I love (senior defensive lineman) Chris Carter. I think he's great football player. If you look at our game last year he was a dominant force on the defensive side of the ball for them. And the quarterback (Ryan Colburn) is very talented. I know they put a lot of plays in his hands and he's very well coached. The whole team is very well coached, so to say the least it's going to be a great challenge for us."

The Bulldogs lose last season's NCAA rushing leader in Ryan Matthews, but do return all five linemen upfront that helped Matthews to his 1,808 yards in 2009.

"They have a very talented offensive line. They range from 280 to 350 pounds across the board," Jones said.

One of the question marks for the Bearcats heading into this season was the defense and the development of depth on that side of the ball. Jones addressed that topic. "I'm comfortable in our first unit and in our second unit we still have to have some guys step up," Jones said.

He then went on to mention three players who could play big roles in the defense this season.

"Like Roney Lozano is a true freshman, he's not going to play in this game, but we have to keep developing him for the stretch of the season," Jones said. "An individual like Robb Trigg who hasn't played a whole lot of football, he has to come in and give us snaps. Jordan Stepp, nose guard out of Indianapolis, same situation where he has to come in and be able to give us snaps.

"We have a philosophy where we want to be able to play as many defensive linemen as possible so our backups are basically like starters. And that is why I think the development of our team is going to lie especially on the defensive side of the ball and how our backups play."

One of the other biggest factors talked about in the season opener is the 2,300 mile trek, but Jones says the travel should not be an issue and is something the Bearcats are prepared for.

"That's what we talk about everyday and that is having great road focus and you have to have great leadership," Jones said. "We don't make too much of a deal about (the travel and time difference). If you make too much of a deal about everything then (the players) start thinking about it."

Two of the ways the Bearcats have prepared for playing at Bulldog Stadium is holding a practice at the Bengals practice facility so they can have a chance to play on grass before the season opener, and holding night practices to get used to playing under the lights.

Speaking of practice facilities, the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex is virtually finished and that the team will hold its first practice there next week.

"I've toured it just about every day this week and it's a first-class facility," Jones said. "We could actually go and practice there right now but the one thing you have to take into consideration is the moving of all of the equipment and I'd just as soon just prepare for this week and when we come home to prepare for Indiana St. we'll move into the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex."

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