Jones and his Florida State teammates concluded their six-week summer conditioning sessions late Wednesday afternoon. Not even wet and dreary conditions could dampen the Seminoles' enthusiasm.
Players say they will carry a renewed commitment and an improved psyche into the start of practice next week. Players report Tuesday morning with the first practice scheduled for Wednesday. FSU's season-opener at North Carolina Aug. 30 is on the horizon
Jones, for one, says he will be ready for the Tar Heels.
"We are just trying to get those last little things in before two-a-days start," Jones said. "I am feeling good."
Jones' rehabilitation from reconstructive knee surgery continues. He expects to be cleared medically for the start of practice and will wear a protective knee brace during the preseason. While scheduled to practice once a day in preparation for the opener, Jones admits he must also be patient.
"Whatever they tell me to do, I am going to do it," Jones said. "I am going to give 100 percent while I am out there practicing, trying to get ready for that first game. I feel like I can be in better shape, but by that first game I will be straight."
FSU wants to prove its straight as well in terms of returning among the nation's elite. While the Seminoles have been picked to win yet another Atlantic Coast Conference title, they are being questioned nationally.
Receiver Dominic Robinson, who just might be the team's most passionate leader, stresses FSU must produce to earn the country's respect. While it's a given the Seminoles still feature some of the best talent in the nation, they still must rebound from two down seasons.
"We are just ready to play. We are ready to produce. We are so tired of talking about it," Robinson said.
"That's all you can do. All we are doing right now is defending ourselves. We are backed into a corner right now. What's wrong with Florida State? These guys are 9-5. They are never going to get back. Are they going to get back? Do they still have the same talent?
"We are tired of talking about it. I am sick of talking about it. I am sick of having to call my boys back home and tell them we are back. I am sick of having to tell reporters we are good now, we are not going to be 9-5 ever again. I am tired of doing that but that's all we can do right now. We are backed into a corner, trying to swing and fight and battle our way out. But that's the biggest difference. We are working like we are fighting for something."
Of course, all eyes will be on quarterback Chris Rix and his development on and off the field.
In two seasons, Rix has shown flashes of greatness. However, he also has been slowed by inconsistency and poor decisions. There's also the matter of regaining the respect of teammates, and Rix appears to have made positive strides in the pivotal department as well.
"I haven't been making an extra effort as far as verbally saying stuff to people," Rix said when asked about his approach to leadership.
"I've been out here every day working hard, throwing and just letting my work ethic speak for itself. My focus this year is really just leading by example. There's a lot of other vocal leaders on this team and when that times comes, and when stuff needs to be said, if I feel it's appropriate I will. But that's not going to be at the forefront of my priorities. Just leading by example and showing I can be consistent off and on the field."
In fact, FSU will need that consistency on both sides of the line of scrimmage to be successful this season. As Jones and his teammates gathered their personal belongings after Wednesday's conditioning session, the group was already talking about the start of practice.
"We are all excited about the season, and I can't stress how much," Rix said.
"People aren't giving us a chance, and that excites us -- about proving a lot of people wrong. It's going to be a fun year. I am about as optimistic as I think I've been since I've been here.
"We are trying to fight to rise back to another level because we have dropped. That's obvious -- look at our record. We are starting to fight again in our workouts, in different drills and competing against each other. That's the biggest difference. You can talk all you want but you have to get it done."