Just Getting Better Every Day

On the verge of a breakout season, Abry Jones isn't taking even the simplest of details for granted.

There are a couple of things Abry Jones says he hasn't taken for granted this past week.

The junior is listed as a starter at defensive end, and he's quickly becoming a vocal leader on the practice field because he knows what he's doing.

Those are fine accomplishments. But the biggest point Jones is happiest about is simpler, more ordinary.

"I have an opportunity to get better every single day," the native of Warner Robins said.

Don't confuse this with a patented athlete cliché—Jones really is satisfied being able to practice after a car accident derailed his fall camp a year ago.

"I ended up having back problems," Jones said. "I came in last year and did pretty good in the spring. Then I had the back injury problems that really didn't let me start the year off like I wanted."

The injury was frustrating because Jones could have helped the defense more in 2010, but his strength and flexibility were slow to return.

It wasn't until November before Jones says he finally felt right. The stats prove as much—he had 16 tackles against Georgia Tech, nearly half of his season total.

"That's when my back started feeling better," he said.

Through the struggle, Jones learned appreciation. So, when he says he's glad to be practicing—even if it is 100 degrees outside—he means it.

"Playing in this conference, missing a day or two can pretty much throw your whole thing off track," he said. "I think I'm just thankful for being able to practice and setting myself up for a good year."

"He just seems to be in really good condition," coach Mark Richt said of Abry. "He just seems to be asserting himself a little bit more. He's just more confident and you can see it."

The defensive line is vastly different than a year ago, too. Jones is now a starter. DeAngelo Tyson has moved to end, with Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins rotating at the nose tackle.

With the new-look line in place, Jones expects production.

"I think we have a chance to be real good," he said. "I think we could pretty much compete with any other line in the SEC."

And since Jones and Tyson are the oldest and most athletic members of the line, there aren't many situations where the two won't make for a good option. They'll play in the base package, but will also be featured in nickel situations, too. Tyson is quiet, more reserved. So Jones is playing off Tyson's lead-by-example style by taking on a more vocal role.

"Every time we go out to practice we bring Kwame with us, and we try to let him know that we're feeding off him," Jones said. "You know, everything starts with Kwame at the line of scrimmage, so I think he's taken that to heart. He knows we're not going to let him down or steer him wrong or anything like that. He pays attention to what we're telling him. Me and DeAngelo know how much of a benefit Kwame is to us, so we're trying to make sure he knows what to do so he can handle what he's doing and we can make our plays feeding off him."

Most of the talk about the line this offseason and first week of fall camp has been about Geathers and Jenkins. Jones hasn't done much talking about himself. But that's OK.

"It's a tremendous feeling to be healthy," he said.


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