Jason Husband: A Team Player

Since the first day he stepped on campus, Jason Husband has been a team player. He's been asked to line up out wide at receiver, and in close at tight end and even near the backfield at wingback on special occasions. As the Jackson native embarks on his junior campaign, Husband's role and attitude hasn't altered one bit.

"I don't mind where I line up," said Husband. "If they play me at receiver, that is fine. If they play me at tight end, that is fine. It will be anywhere that I can help the team and I just want to do whatever it takes to win."

And Husband, listed third on the depth chart at tight end following spring drills, gets the same feedback from his teammates.

He senses the change in attitude and the focus on little details of the West Coast offense. Like many on the Bulldogs' offense, Husband is entering his third season affiliated with an offense specializing on quick and precise passes and creating mismatches.

"I believe everybody has the experience needed in the West Coast offense," said Husband. "Over the past couple of years, we have struggled. You have to be precise in this offense and everybody has to do their part exactly how it's supposed to be done.

"Now, everyone knows what to do and it will show up because of our experience. You will see that in our receivers and in Mike Henig. We all understand it better now."

In the spring, Husband was recovering from reconstructive shoulder surgery and didn't get the work he longed for in practice. But as the spring progressed, so did Husband's shoulder and his confidence.

And it hasn't stopped this summer.

"I did better as the weeks went along in spring practice," said Husband. "After a couple of weeks, I was more comfortable with the hitting part and I was more relaxed moving around like I wanted to.

"We are all ready. All we have talked about this summer is football and being ready and in shape. We are all ready to keep working hard."

Including himself, Husband points out the number of different weapons on the offense ready to break through in 2006. There are options now, options that he hasn't seen before in the West Coast offense.

"I really believe this offense can be one of the best in the Southeastern Conference," said Husband. "We have a lot of weapons. Mike Henig showed a lot of good qualities at the end of last year and that will only carry over to this year. We have some good receivers coming in with Tony Burks and Ryan Mason. Mike Henig is much better and those tailbacks coming in will go great with guys like Brandon Thornton and Derek Ambrose.

"Plus, we all know what Omarr Conner and Eric Butler can do and then we have experience guys like Will Prosser and Keon Humphries. So for the first time in awhile, we have some weapons to go to in this offense. Plus, with our line getting better, we should start to show how successful this offense can be when it's run right with experienced players."

Husband can create mismatches with his speed at tight end against roaming linebackers and safeties. And with his 6-foot-4 and 225-pound frame, Husband can also draw assignments and routes against the smaller defensive backs.

Being at 225 pounds could cause mismatches not in Husband's favor, especially against rugged Southeastern Conference D-lines.

Yet Husband isn't concerned about the weight factor and has trust in his coaches to present mismatches in his own favor in the fall.

"I really don't look at it that way," said Husband of being undersized sometimes at tight end. "I know that my weight may cause differences at tight end compared to other tight ends in this league. But the coaches are not going to put me in a bad situation where that would be a factor. They will move me around to creates advantages for me at different spots, depending on what we need at that particular time.

"Sometimes the play will call for more blockers and it may be me, or Eric or Dezmond. Or it could be two of us or all of us with somebody lined up wide. We have a good tight end group and the coaches will use us where they feel is the best for that play or that drive."

Jason Husband has already taken advantages in the class room, using a redshirt year in 2003 to get a jump start on his bachelor's degree. Husband is on schedule to graduate in December with a degree in risk management and start on another class room goal in the spring.

"When I came in, my mom and coaches said I could push early for graduation and that's what I did," said Husband. "I will start my master's degree in business administration in the spring. I would like to work in the management part of risk management or go into insurance."

Back to the field, Husband is counting on major insurance from State's offensive line this year, and strongly believes the big bodies up front hold the key to the offensive success.

So far, Husband has been impressed by what he's seen this summer.

"The offensive line is the key," said Husband. "If they do well, we will win a lot of ball games. You can see that they are a lot better than the last couple of seasons. We have seen it in the weight room and see that they want to get it done this year. A good offensive line just makes everything else run smoother."

And Husband is hoping that means a return to the end zone. As a redshirt rookie in 2004, Husband caught four passes but two of those went for touchdowns against Auburn.

He had two catches for 33 yards last year but didn't find paydirt.

Now is patiently awaiting his turn to put points on the board.

"That was exciting," said Husband of his two-touchdown day against Auburn as a rookie. "I want to get back there and I'm going to do my best to get back to the end zone. I want to have that kind of fun again."

Paul Jones is a writer for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website. Paul, also a sports writer for the Columbus Commercial Dispatch, can be reached by email at pjones@cdispatch.com.

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