Dog D-Tackle Telling Tales on His Big-Personality Teammate

It began as an interview of Chris Jones. It became a discussion of his teammate and fellow Bulldog defensive tackle. And to be honest, hearing Jones talk of Nick James was more fun. For everyone.

What are your thoughts on the size of Arkansas’ offensive line and the challenge they present? Chris Jones: “Yeah, they’re big, heavy guys. And they’re physical, very physical, probably the most physical offensive line that we’ll see. The heaviest offensive line we’ll see for sure. So we have to get under those guys, you know, get under and play technical football and play physical football.”

Is that the game you enjoy most? “Well, I enjoy the pass rushing! These guys are more of a run-scheme, play-action pass. So I’m going to have to tighten my shoulder pads a little tighter this week, huh?!”

Coach Manny Diaz said the key is not that they are big but the long arms and reach? “Yeah, the offensive tackles and offensive guards, they’re wide and they’re big. They’re the biggest offensive line in the nation. And give credit to those guys. They move pretty good for their size. To be 330-and-plus they’re pretty good.”

What have you seen out of Nick James playing beside you this year? “Nick has progressed in many areas of the game. I feel he’s matured a lot in the game. Over the years he’s matured, he’s stepped-up to more of a starter role other than a role player. I’ve enjoyed him this year, I look at him like a little brother. We used to share rooms together, we used to be roomies. And he’s matured a lot.”

What makes you say he’s matured? “Just he’s stepped up in many ways, been our starter. He’s led by example. He comes out every day, he goes hard and has been on the right path.”

What is a Nick story you can share? “Man it’s a lot of crazy memories with Nick James! One night he busts in the house HEY, HEY! (note: that’s a vague translation) because all the lights were off. You know, he’s got that deep voice. ‘HEY HEY, Chris the lights are off!’ And everybody running crazy around the house. I mean, living with Nick, man, you don’t know what to expect. You don’t know.”

Did you enjoy it though? “Yeah, he’s a cool guy. He’s a great roommate, no trouble or anhthing like that.He’s just funny, man, you never know what you’re going to get.”

What is it like keeping that balance, you want the energy but sometimes have to keep it tamped-down? “Yeah, you’ve got to tell him to calm down a lot. Because he’ll get on the line and start barking for nowhere. ‘Knock a helmet off Chris, WOOF WOOF!’. So have I have to tell him calm down Nick, calm down…and that’s before the offensive line is even down! So I have to calm him down just a little. But his momentum, he’ll be so excited about the game and have so much power in him, you’ll have to calm him down just a little.”

You had a sack against Alabama, it was taken away when State accepted a penalty? “Yeah, that was tough man, that was tough! After the game I asked Coach (David) Turner they really took the sack away, huh? He was like no, we gave it to you. I was like no it’s not, it’s not going to be official! I asked him, Coach, honestly don’t you know how hard it is to get a sack as a d-tackle?

“But I understand, I put my selfish goals aside for the team. I just wish they would have declined the penalty, I guess it was eight seconds left on the clock (to halftime) and we were like on the 20-yard line! Just put my personal goals aside for the team goals.”

How has Nick helped you become a better player? “He clogs up the gap. He demands a double-team, he’s firing off the ball and it’s hard to stop 330 pounds coming off the ball. So he helps me out getting me one-on-one blocks.”

“Like on the sack Nick was double-teamed as a G, so it helped me out. I knew I was going to get a one-on-one block. That’s progressed throughout the year, as in Missouri where I had a lot of one-on-one blocks because of Nick.”

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