Getting to Know Mike Jones

Just last year, Mike Jones was beating up on high school opponents in the state of Illinois. One year later, Jones was starting at left guard for the then #9 rated Iowa Hawkeyes against then #8 Ohio State. Read what Mike had to say about that experience, about his recruitment and much more in this Q & A with the true freshman who is starting on the Iowa offensive line.

MIKE JONES:

What were you and Robert Gallery talking about on the field?

"We were just talking about what we were doing on the play or which way we were sliding.

Are you surprised to be stepping in at this point?

"I'm somewhat surprised because coming n here back in February I though the odds were that I would be redshirting. I thought that would be best for me. But coach Ferentz said that he needed me in there. So, I said that I would do it.

Did you ride the bus back and forth on recruiting visits?

"Yeah. My dad doesn't like driving. He actually enjoyed the bus because he got to sit down, read the papers and do all of his work. But I just hated it.

How long is it from here?

"The bus to Chicago makes so many stops. One time it was like 5 1/2 hours here and six hours back."

How much did Coach Ferentz's expertise on the offensive line factor into your decision to come here?

"It was a pretty big factor because at a lot of schools position coaches come and go. When an offensive line coach leaves a school, then that school might have a different system with a new offensive line coach or a different way of teaching. I knew coming here to Iowa that with Coach Ferentz being the head coach there would always be the same philosophy and the same techniques of blocking."

What is it like stepping in and playing against Ohio State and Penn State right away like this?

"It's definitely a new experience, something I didn't expect, but something that I think will make me a better football player."

How much did other schools use the possibility of Coach Ferentz leaving for the NFL in recruiting?

"No schools really negative recruited at all. A few might have mentioned it, but that's it."

Did that surprise you?

"It seemed like when schools were recruiting me they all tried to stay away from negative recruiting. That's what they did for the most part."

Did you ask Coach Ferentz about leaving for the NFL?

"Yeah. I asked him during the period when he was interviewing with Jacksonville or whatever. I remember when he called me and said, "I'm definitely staying here. It was just an interview." I kept in contact with him."

What did you ask him?

"I just said, "What were you doing there? Did you actually do the interview because there were all sorts of rumors?" He just clarified the situation with me."

What do you think about his name being out there all of the time now?

"His name is out there now, and it's probably going to always be out there. That's just something that he has to deal with. I don't pay attention to it anymore."

What did you think of your performance against Ohio State after watching the tape?

"I thought that I did some good things. And I thought that I did some things that are correctable. It all comes down to fundamentals and that's what I'm going to work on this week."

Coach Ferentz said that you're a no-nonsense, serious guy. Where does that come from?

"I guess that I'm kind of like him. That's what he's like. I'm not always joking around or playing around, I'm out there to do my job and I'm serious about it. Football is a big part of my life."

How long has it been like that?

"It probably started my sophomore year in high school when I was playing on the varsity. A lot was expected from me. I knew that I would have to be serious about it and take it seriously to do a good job."

Is that early pressure to perform in high school helping you now?

"Yeah. The pressure in high school as a sophomore is kind of somewhat similar to what it is here."

What do you think got you in this position?

"I think it helps that I have the ability to learn a lot of advanced techniques that you learn here that I learned from my brother Jim when I was just a sophomore in high school. We were doing the same stuff that we do here. I guess I had three years of college coaching experience under my belt. Some people have trouble learning it or adapting to it, but I guess I adapted to it pretty well."

Do you take a straight forward approach to everything you do?

"I do that with school work. But a lot of times, schoolwork isn't just the amount of work you put in. You have to do a lot of thinking and stuff like that. But school is going pretty well for me too."

Did your brother give you an evaluation of your performance against Ohio State?

"He watched the game Saturday. He called me just last night telling me about the good things that he saw. And he told me some of the things that he thought were correctable that I should work on. He actually said that he's going to watch the tape again and send me a detailed email with everything. So, I'll probably call him again tonight."


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