1-on-1 With Junior DL Chris Jones

Mississippi State junior defensive lineman Chris Jones talks one-on-one with Gene's Page.

How good are you at Ultimate Frisbee?
"On a scale of 1 to 5 I am about a 4.5."

Are you going to declare for the Ultimate Frisbee Draft?
"I should, I should. (Laugh)"

Ok, now for the serious stuff. This is the year where you may have the chance to declare for the NFL Draft. How are you preparing for that possibility?
"The NFL Draft is not an important thing for me this year. I just want to play hard every game and reach my potential on the defensive line. And I am focusing on the little things, hand placement, small things like that."

Speaking of playing hard every game. I saw you in high school and that, along with your talent, was what impressed me about you. That was what made you a 5-star player in high school. Is that what we are going to be see from Chris Jones this season?
"Yes sir, of course. You always have to go hard. The scoreboard is never a factor. Coach (Geoff) Collins is gone but last year he established that we weren't going to pay attention to the scoreboard, just go hard every play."

You mentioned Coach Collins. You have a new defensive coordinator this season, Manny Diaz. How has the defense changed for the defensive linemen under Coach Diaz's system?
"Coach Diaz kind of freezes us up. I am loving Coach Diaz. I feel like he is a great coach. He utilize the D-line a lot more."

How does he utilize you more?
"He gives us single blocks. In Coach Collins' scheme we kind of held up the block for the linebackers to make plays. But in Coach Diaz's defense you are going to have a lot of one-on-one blocks."

Is that perfect for Chris Jones?
"Yes sir, yes sir. I always love one-on-one blocks. Plus, I am going to be playing some end, too."

So you finally get to play some defensive end even though you are a defensive tackle?
"No, I'm still a defensive end, I'm still a defensive end (said with a smile on his face). They moved me to defensive tackle because we don't have enough defensive tackles."

What is your weight now?

How do you feel at that weight? I know you played at about 260 in high school and you had great quickness at that weight.
"I feel pretty good. Playing against the big boys inside I had to put on some weight because when they threw me inside I was getting pushed around. So, 305 is pretty good."

You have earned a lot of pre-season honors. Do you think you are ready to start earning post-season honors?
"I always think I am ready for that. You have to be prepared for things like that. You have to expect things like that. When you expect it and believe in yourself, then nothing can stop you."

What are your thoughts about the defensive line overall?
"I feel like we are young and still progressing everyday. Coach Turner is a very good coach and he has us progressing everyday. I feel like we will get after it every play, every down. And we will create turnovers."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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