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<b>Willie Jones </b>was considered one of the nation's top outside linebackers out of Miami Carol City High. He set a state record with 32 quarterback sacks in 2000 and was credited with 168 tackles and eight fumble recoveries. While Jones had sights on playing linebacker at FSU, he's found a new home at defensive end, following the footsteps of his father, Willie Jones, Sr. Click here to read about Junior. "I think this team has a lot more character and a better bond with each other," he said.

The clock is ticking on Willie Jones, Jr. Ticking very loudly, too.

"I feel like I have to make it happen," Jones said. "I've been here two years already, and I feel a lot quicker, faster and stronger. My time is now. I have to make it happen."

Jones, a redshirt sophomore, was considered one of the nation's top outside linebackers out of Miami Carol City High School. He set a state record with 32 quarterback sacks in 2000 and was credited with 168 tackles and eight fumble recoveries.

Of course, Jones had sights on playing linebacker at FSU when he signed with the Seminoles in 2001. Instead, he's following the footsteps of his father, Willie Jones, Sr., who played defensive end at FSU from 1975-78 and for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl along the way.

The transition from linebacker to end has been arduous for Jones. However, the 6-foot-1, 248-pound Jones says he finally feels comfortable on the line and is anxious to contribute as the Seminoles look to rebound from nine defeats the past two years. Jones says he's also recovered from an ankle injury suffered last spring.

"I feel a lot stronger and a lot quicker," Jones said.

"Coming out of spring, I knew I was having a good spring before I hurt my ankle. I am fine now. I feel good. My speed and quickness are coming along."

Jones played in six games last season as a third-teamer at left defensive end behind Kevin Emanuel and Eric Moore. He finished with four tackles and recorded his first career sack against Duke.

Looking to play more meaningful minutes this season, Jones believes he has made vast improvements on his technique thanks to extra workouts with his father. Willie Sr. earned second-team All-American honors as a senior at FSU and "was a beast in his day," a smiling Jones said.

"That was the worst thing for me, being a standup linebacker out of high school, was putting my hand on the ground and taking on offensive linemen," Jones said.

"My technique was a big problem. Me and father have been working out together so my technique is down pat. Coach (Jody) Allen (defensive ends coach), would tell me everyday, ‘Willie you can't keep jumping to the outside or doing this.‘ It takes awhile to get in your head. At Florida State, you better get it down pat fast. Or not, you won't be playing. I have to make sure I follow the guidelines. During two-a-days and the season, hopefully I can showcase that and I can show everybody what I've been working on."

Jones also says the Seminoles have been working hard to correct past problems, starting with chemistry as well as players accepting quarterback Chris Rix as a team leader. Jones says the past two FSU teams was plagued by personality problems.

"The other teams the past two years, there's not a lot of players against one another," Jones said.

"A lot of players on this team are friends who hang out together. There's a bond between most of us. I think a lot of players are starting to believe in Chris Rix, and that's the most important thing. He showed a lot of leadership during spring. I think this team has a lot more character and a better bond with each other.

"Negative mindset (last year), that kind of tears the team apart. We are out here having a good time now. Having fun on the football field, and that's what Florida State has been missing the past two years. We have talent and we want to win. We don't want to have a third season of losing four games, and everybody knows what they have to do."

For Jones, the clock is ticking.


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