Jones ready to fight for starting spot

Junior Kejuan Jones talks about his offseason progress and impending battle with freshman Adrian Peterson for the starting running back job.

With all the talk of the arrival of Adrian Peterson, it seems most Sooner fans forget that it is Kejuan Jones who will start double sessions as the No. 1 running back, and it is Jones who will almost assuredly be the starting opening day against Bowling Green.

Jones had a fantastic spring and that has carried over to this summer. Jones is still running with the first unit in seven-on-seven drills and his work ethic is catching on with Peterson and a number of young players on offense.

Recently after a tough workout, had a chance to sit down with Jones for an EXTRA! edition.

JH: Following the great spring that you had is this summer, is this the most important off-season of your football career?

KJ: "I am real high on what I am doing this summer because I did have a great spring and going into this season I am going to be the featured running back. I am happy to just get back out there, and I have been working hard this summer to keep that momentum going. Coach Schmidt has been doing me right, opening up my stride even more. I will be even quicker this season that I was this past spring."

JH: You improved your quickness out of your cuts in the spring and it looked as if it made you faster. How were you able to get that accomplished?

KJ: "It is basically just staying balanced in my running. During my freshman year there were times that I would almost get past that one guy, but I would lose my balance and get tackled. It is staying low in my cuts and keeping my balance that has improved my speed and quickness."

JH: This summer it looks like everybody is working hard, would you agree?

KJ: "Our workouts have been good this summer. Everybody is finishing their workouts strong and everybody feels they are getting a lot stronger and faster. We are just jelling a lot better as a team."

JH: Despite the fact that you have a bunch of young running backs trying to take your job, I always see you giving them advice and helping them with their assignments. That takes a lot of guts doesn't it?

KJ: "Anywhere you go there is going to be competition. There is going to be as good of competition here at OU as anywhere in the Big 12. When Quentin was here he always helped me out, and now that I am the guy with the experience I am going to any young guy that needs my help. That is way it goes around here. If a teammate needs my help, then I am going to do everything that I can to help that guy out."

JH: Now that you are a junior is Coach Schmidt's running program getting any easier?

KJ: "It is getting a lot tougher because I am pushing myself more. I am pushing myself harder than ever. I am not just showing up knocking it out. I am showing up and using my workout time to make me the best player that I can be. I have been here three years and I am going to give it everything that I have over the next two years to have the greatest career that I can."

JH: Does a team have to come together in the summer?

KJ: "Yes, this is where it starts and this is where it all comes from. All of us could be at the house if we want, but instead we are out here in the hot sun working as hard as we can to be the best team we can be. During the summer around here, workouts are all we really have, because everybody else has gone home. We have each other as a team and workouts, and we know mentally that we need to stay strong to have a great season."

JH: How is the offense looking in seven-on-seven drills?

KJ: "We are looking pretty good. We aren't ready for the season, but we look pretty good. I am a running back and in these drills I don't get to catch the ball much, so I am not really getting a chance to run the ball much during these drills."

JH: Haven't you told them that you caught one of the biggest passes in Oklahoma High School Football when you caught that touchdown pass against Tulsa Union?

KJ: "Yeah, they know that, but that is just part of our system. The way that your system goes we do try to get the ball into the hands of the running back a lot out of the backfield, but our receiving core is so grea.t I don't complain about them catching a lot of balls. Jason gets the ball to me when he can and when I am open."

JH: You have heard all the stories about Adrian Peterson) and how good he is. So what about the competition in August?

KJ: "Adrian is a good running back and he has a lot of talent, but we have a number of great young running backs in this program. However, I am the starting running back at Oklahoma and I am not going to give up this spot. I am in great shape. I am improving every day and there is no way that I won't be the starting running back when we open with Bowling Green."

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