Jones Talks About The Season So Far

Derrick Jones is the fastest man on the Oregon Ducks' roster. Jones, 6-1, 170, has a collegiate personal best of 10.71 in the 100-meters (Pac-10 Championships, May 2006) and had an even better time (10.47) in high school. On the Ducks football field though, he's just now making his mark.

Jones was a 4-star recruit out of Long Beach Polytechnic High School and initially signed a National Letter of Intent with USC in 2004. He was unable to meet enrollment requirements and moved on until he enrolled at Oregon in the spring of 2006.

He was able to compete immediately for Oregon Track Coach Vin Lananna while he worked his way in with the Ducks' football program. He caught one pass in five games as a freshman. His speed was no secret as he was a five-time California high school state champion (200m-1, 4x100m-1, 4x400m-3) and Duck fans patiently awaited for Jones' great wheels to make a difference on the gridiron.

Fast-forward to Ann Arbor, Michigan this season. With a little over three minutes left in the second quarter, the Ducks led the Michigan Wolverines 35-7 Jones broke open. Quarterback Dennis Dixon led Jones perfectly and in stride hit on an electrifying 61-yard scoring play.

Derrick Jones had arrived.

For the 2007 season so far, Jones has seven catches for 113 yards and one touchdown. He's also credited with a rush for 15 yards. The Oregon coaching staff has wanted to find ways to get Jones more involved in the offense so he has also been returning kickoffs. He has returned four kickoffs for a total of 71 yards, but it might be his last attempt that many are talking about. Not because it turned out well, but because he and fellow return man Andre Crenshaw collided as California kicked off in the fourth quarter of last Saturday's game. The ball squirted on the ground and Cal recovered it. It was a frustrating moment for the Ducks, as all spring and fall, ball security has been an emphasis.

The turnover did not lead to any California points and if anything the Oregon defense immediately came back onto the field and played as well as they have played all season long in the remaining portions of the game that the Bears would eventually win, 31-24.

Looking at the play though, the fumble was not a result of a lack of effort. The fumble was caused because the players on the field were trying to make a big play in order to give Oregon good field position. Jones says that the noise of the crowd made it difficult for he and Crenshaw to hear each other calling for the ball.

Both players have learned a lesson from the incident, as has the rest of the team -- take care of the ball and make plays when the ball is secure.

That lesson is something Oregon has been working on during the bye week. Oregon is also healing up after five weeks of football. Next week, the Ducks will be in game preparation mode as they prepare for the Washington State Cougars. The Cougars will make a visit for the first time in three years on Saturday, October 13th at 12:30 p.m. at Autzen Stadium.

Jones believes great players are confident that they can make big plays anytime they step onto the playing field and he intends to make big plays in the games to come. Perhaps with the lessons learned from the California game, and his great skills, big plays are on the way as early as next week.

Derrick Jones took time to speak to eDuck Sports about the season and that muffed kickoff against Cal.

Derrick Jones on the season so far.

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