"I am feeling great," Jones said and smiled.
"I ran a lot (Tuesday) night and my knee is real sore now (Wednesday) but I feel real good. I can tell a difference week to week. Right now I think I am about 75 percent. Still, come two-a-day practices, I want to be ready to roll."
Jones, of course, was FSU's leading rusher last season despite missing the final four games of the season with an injured right knee. Jones tore his anterior cruciate ligament and injured his medial collateral ligament in the Seminoles' 34-21 win at Wake Forest on Nov. 2.
The 240-pound tailback from Beaufort, S.C., averaged an Atlantic Coast Conference-best 104.2 yards per game, running for 938 yards and eight touchdowns. He was just 62 yards shy of becoming the eighth 1,000-yard rusher in school history.
Jones, who underwent successful surgery Nov. 26, is nearing the seven-month mark in his rehabilitation. His spirits remain high and his work ethic strong. He recently tested at 70 percent on the Cybex machine, which measures a player's leg strength. After icing his knee Wednesday afternoon and trading friendly insults with Bobby Meeks and Bryant McFadden, a smiling Jones felt good as new.
"It's just good to be back," he said.
The Seminoles' first two workout sessions Tuesday and Wednesday were lively and spirited. Jones says that's fine and dandy but only the start. Under the new NCAA guidlines, players can work out four hours a week in the weight room and four hours a week on the practice fields under FSU supervision.
"A lot of people showed but in a couple weeks, when people start getting tired, it's important that people keep coming out," Jone said.
"I think that's the important part, that people keep showing up day-to-day and week-to-week. That's the key, to get everybody out there and make sure everyone competes 110-percent. If we do that, we will be fine. You know, guys need to be self-motivated and ready to go after it."
Jones certanily went after it last season.
Jones recorded five 100-yard games against Iowa State, Virginia, Maryland, Clemson and Miami. In fact, Jones rushed for a career-high 189 yards against the top-ranked Hurricanes, establishing the 10th-best rushing performance in school history. Jones had 354 yards in back-to-back games against Clemson and Miami, the most in two consecutive games at FSU since 1983.
Despite Jones' contributions, the Seminoles continued their struggles on and off the field. FSU coach Bobby Bowden said one problem was the team's lack of chemistry. Jones agreed.
"I think chemistry has to do with how the guys respond to each other," Jones said.
"Last year a bunch of guys didn't get along with each other and you could see it on the field. So, if you have good chemistry, you feel you can do whatever you strive for. If you are out there with me, working beside me, then we will be fine."
Jones said one of the Seminoles' goals is obvious – to recpature the program's national championship days. FSU has been ranked as low as No. 17 in some early preseson polls.
"Right now there's a whole lot of frustration," Jone said.
"A lot of people are putting us down, and I can understand that from our past records. But they are still putting us down and I know guys are ready to go out there and show people we are good. It (polls) give us motivation. I think that's good for guys on the team. Everyone thinks we are low on the totem poll. That's perfect motivation."
There's no denying Jones' motivation. He would rather stay in Tallahassee the entire summer, though his family in South Carolina would like to see him. Jones, who admits he will have to sneak away for a weekend, is just thrilled to be back working his teammates – be it rain or shine.
"I really don't even want to go home," Jones said and laughed.
"I am over it (injury). I am starting right back up. It seems like I haven't played in two years and I am ready to get back out there."