Bulked up Marcus Jones ready for senior season

"We want to go undefeated in the conference. There are a lot of expectations for us this year, so we need to go out get it done." - Marcus Jones.

Last fall defensive end Marcus Jones made an immediate impact on a youthful Cardinal defensive squad. After seeing most reserve action the previous two seasons, Jones became a full-time starter as a junior.

Now a senior, Jones is bulked up and poised to become an anchor on an improved Louisville defensive line.

"I'm ready to go...it's my last go around," said Jones. "I've added about 15 more pounds, I'm up to about 245-pounds.

Jones, who played the end spot a little undersized last fall, spent the summer adding weight and strength under the direction of the Cardinals Strength & Conditioning Coach Jason Veltkamp.

"We worked out real hard this summer," siad the now 6-foot-2, 245-pound Jones. "We always worked hard during the summers before, but now that we have Coach Veltkamp with us we worked harder. They put in some new programs for us and had us in game shape for the start of practice."

Because of his improved strength, Jones, who seem to tire at the end of the 2003 season, can now endure a high snap count throughout the season.

"I told [Coach Veltkamp] that I wanted to be in the best shape I've ever been in and so I could play 70 snaps a game," Jones explained. "That's the type of mentality that Coach Veltkamp has too. He wanted everybody to be in the kind of shape so they can take 70 snaps a game."

With 14 career sacks, 10 being recorded last fall, Jones will likely find his name listed in the U of L record books following the season for total career sacks. He currently ranks tied at eighth all-time, but could very well end the season among the school's top five career pass rushers.

"I always try to get 20 sacks each year," Jones said. "That's the goal I set so far. I feel like I can do it."

Improved play and depth from the defensive line will only increase Jones' sack opportunities and the senior believes the unit will make a positive impression this fall.

"We are playing more relaxed," said Jones of the defensive line. "Our goal is to show everybody how hard we have been working and the things we can do now."

Having experienced a Conference USA title during his Louisville career, Jones and his teammates hope to duplicate the championship seasons of a few years ago.

"I want to get another championship ring," Jones said. "We want to go undefeated in the conference. There are a lot of expectations for us this year, so we need to go out get it done."


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