Jones: "A Great Time to Be a Yellow Jacket"

Roddy Jones opened that 2009 season with a wrist injury that had an affect on his play. Following the Coastal Division clinching win over Duke, Jones talked about the team's not giving up after the loss to Miami and how it feels now compared to this time last season.

Roddy Jones - Profile

How does it feel to win the Coastal Division?

"It's great. It's exciting and you know everybody in there is excited right now. It's a compilation of a lot of hard work and we've been working hard since last season ended – the spring, and since the LSU game. And we've just been working hard and this is our goal and we put ourselves in the position to accomplish the ultimate goal which is to win the ACC Championship."

Did you think that you would be in this position following the Miami loss?

"Definitely [knew we had a chance]. The Miami game was one loss and we knew that. It was a big loss at the time because they are a team in our division but we knew that most of our games were in front of us but if we took care of our business then hopefully the chips would fall our way and they ended up doing that and we took care of what we needed to take care of."

When did the team buy in to Coach Johnson's philosophies?

"I think since last year when we were kept out of the ACC Championship game – that was our goal – we might have surprised some people but we were disappointed by not getting there. So, that was our goal the entire offseason – since the spring, the morning runs, spring practice, and then camp. That's always been our goal. We've been focused on it and now we're going and we've got a chance to accomplish it."

Did the LSU game from last year motivate the team?

"It definitely was [a motivator]. They really showed us what we need to do to get to the level that they are at. Their defense is a national championship defense – I don't care what anyone says. They really showed us how much harder we needed to work during the offseason and what we needed to do to get there. I think we've done a pretty good of it but we've still got to get better and keep going so we can with the ACC."

Was the team pressing early against Duke?

"I think they [Duke] came out with some different looks offensively and it kind of threw some guys off. But, once we settled down – the past couple of games it took us a couple plays to settle down – it was the same old stuff. It just comes down to us executing. When we start executing, we feel like we can be pretty good."

What kind of lift does the offense get when the defense gets a stop?

"It gives us tons of confidence. We know that when we get rolling we can score with anybody. So when the defense gets stops, it gives us a chance to pull away. We feel like when the defense is on and we're on, we can pretty much beat anybody."

How good was it to see some of the backups get playing time?

"It was awesome. It boosts everyone's morale when people get in there and get reps. Its exciting to see guys who maybe don't get in to the game and to see guys like Richard Watson score. I think it was his first college touchdown. That stuff is exciting and it gets everyone fired up."

What is it like playing special teams?

"I don't think it's that much of a change. Last year we had some [starters] out there. We just went back to it this year – especially on kickoffs. And that stuff is fun. I don't get a chance to go down and make tackles and a lot of the offensive guys that are on those teams don't get a chance to go down and make tackles a lot. So, when we get that opportunity, we like to take advantage of it and its fun."

With the bye week, will the team be over-thinking the Georgia game?

"I don't think anybody will have a problem over-thinking Georgia. No matter what, even with the way the game went last year, everybody still always talks about Georgia. We still feel like we're the overlooked team in the state. We feel like they've got more fans and people stand behind them more. So, we use that as another motivation. It's enough of a rivalry where we'll come out ready to play and we definitely won't overlook them."

What are your off-week plans?

"Other than get better in practice? Just get healthy I guess. We've got a couple days off so we'll relax a little bit and get recharged for the Georgia game and the ACC Championship."

Has the wrist injury affected your play?

"I think it did [affect me]. I missed all of camp and most of preseason practice. I came back the week we played Jacksonville State. I played the next week against Clemson so I really had one week of practice. I think it was one of those things where it took a little bit for me to get back used to being in the flow of things. It's come along well and I just try and get in where I fit in and help this team."

How does this feel compared to this time last year?

"It feels great – knowing we're going to the ACC Championship, knowing that we won the Coastal outright with no tiebreakers or anything. It feels great. We're just excited. It's a great time to be a Yellow Jacket."

How much can the team improve?

"We can definitely get better. Until we're making every single block on every play, we can get better. We've got to go and focus this week on getting better for Georgia and then for whomever we play in the ACC Championship game."


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