Looking for Mr. Jones

Florida State tailback Greg Jones has cooled after a sizzling start. To help find out why, Jones recently sat down in the 'Noles' film room. Right there on the big screen, Jones noticed a difference in his running style. "Last two games, I know I can do better. I think first two games I was just being aggressive to the hole. Getting there and making it happen. The last two games, I've been aggressive but kind of waiting for things to happen," Jones said.

Greg Jones had to see for himself, so he recently sat down in Florida State's film room. Right there on the big screen, Jones noticed a difference in his running style.

"Last two games, I know I can do better," said Jones, the Seminoles' leading rusher with 468 yards.

"I want the coaches to be hard on me, to help me get better. I think first two games I was just being aggressive to the hole. Getting there and making it happen. The last two games, I've been aggressive but kind of waiting for things to happen. I need to get back and be more aggressive. The last two games, I didn't have the games I wanted to.

"I am ready to get back into the flow and I am ready to run."

Jones and the Seminoles (4-1, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) will need to be ready to rumble Thursday against rival Clemson (3-1, 1-0 ACC) in Bowden Bowl IV - Bobby Bowden versus son Tommy Bowden. The Tigers have had little clue about how to stop FSU, having lost 10 straight in the series. In the past two seasons, the Seminoles outscored Clemson 95-34 while rolling up 1,328 yards of total offense.

But this is a different Tigers defense under first-year coordinator John Lovett, who replaced veteran - and former FSU standout linebacker -- Reggie Herring. Clemson ranks first in the league and ninth nationally in total defense, surrendering 254.8 yards per game, and has allowed only eight touchdowns. The Tigers, who also rank first in the conference in rush defense, allowed 395 yards per game last season.

Bobby Bowden said one key will be the Seminoles' ability to control the line of scrimmage and establish a running game.

"When you block, everything goes," Bowden said. "We are just trying to do a better job at that."

The Seminoles are averaging over 200 yards in both rushing and passing through the first five games and lead the ACC in total offense (458). It's no secret the Seminoles would love to get Jones more involved against the Tigers - Jones ran for a season-high 160 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries in last year's victory at Clemson.

It's no secret Jones has size and strength. He's considered a powerful runner who can change a game's complexion. That was the case in FSU's first three victories over Iowa State, Virginia and Maryland, when Jones rushed 64 times for 392 yards and four touchdowns.

Jones has been a different rusher the past two games, however. His production and opportunities are both down - 22 rushes for 76 yards and no touchdowns. While the Seminoles have been forced to pass due to defensive schemes employed by Duke and Maryland - FSU has 610 passing yards compared to 242 rushing yards - the Seminoles say it's important to reestablish Jones' bruising style.

"I feel like when we have Greg on a roll, it's a more physical game," guard Montrae Holland said. "You have teams back on the heels because they know you can run the ball. It doesn't feel like they have you one-dimensional - you just have to pass the ball, pass the ball."

Offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden admits he has to make sure he gives Jones more chances.

"He has seen on film where he's doing a little too much dancing and picking and not slashing - that's his style," Bowden said. "He's a slasher. He needs to get back to how he has started the season out. And we need to give him some more opportunities, too."

Jones admits he and the Seminoles have run out of wiggle room following the Seminoles' stunning defeat at Louisville. And Clemson, which had last weekend off to prepare, would love nothing more than to help erase any remaining national championship hopes FSU is clinging to.

The last time Clemson beat Florida State, 34-23 in the second game of 1989, the Seminoles were coming off a 30-26 loss to Southern Mississippi. That's a little positive reinforcement for the Tigers, but also consider the following:

The Seminoles have dropped two straight games just five times in the past 20 seasons. Clemson has played FSU once during that span following a Seminoles loss, falling 17-0 to FSU in 1994.

Jones, who hails from Beaufort, S.C., believes FSU will bounce back against the Tigers. Include himself in that mix after watching the video.

"It has been a good week of practice," said Jones, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in seven of the last 12 games and has led FSU in rushing 10 of the last 13 games. "Everyone is looking forward to Thursday night. We want to show everybody that we are ready to play again. I had a lot of family call (after Louisville game) and it was like I didn't want to talk about the game. We have to put that game behind us. We are ready to prove ourselves Thursday."


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