Quote Sheet: Ronald Jones, Josh Brinson

Todd Graham has praised the work of Josh Brinson and Ronald Jones over the last couple of weeks. Today, we go in more detail about some of the things they like about Pitt and what we can expect from them this year.

Ronald Jones

Where do you see yourself fitting in?
"Right now, I see myself as a guy that can come in and help the team out a lot, a guy that can move the ball and make big plays when I need to."

What's the transition like from quarterback to receiver?
"When they recruited me, they said I was going to play at the slot position. They said they were going to use my speed for reverses. They said they were going to have to work on my hands, get focused on the ball. My intentions were to play receiver, because of my height."

How has the transition gone?
"At first, the first couple days, I was struggling. I asked Coach Norvell and some of the other players, ‘what can I do to get my eyes focused to the ball?' They just said, ‘look the ball in, and stay after practice and catch some more from the jugs (machine).' It's paid off."

Are you able to relate to the receiver position from how you played in high school?
"Yeah, I can relate to the defense pretty well. My high school coach taught me a lot on the defensive side, what kind of defense they're running, two high safeties, one high safety, what to do, what not to do. I'm comfortable with the defense."

Talk about your previous relationship with teammates LaQuentin Smith and Roderick Ryles:
"We were on the same 7-on-7 team. It was a very great experience to have DI players around you, just getting better every day."

"When I came on my visit (to Pittsburgh), they had gone on a visit the week before. I was at the airport leaving Pitt and I saw them at the airport. I said, ‘where are you coming from?' They said, ‘we're coming from West Virginia.' I asked them what they were going to do, and they said, ‘we're going to come to Pitt,' so I said, ‘I'm with you.'"

How's the transition to Pennsylvania from Florida?
"It's a little bit different. Everyone said they can't understand me, what I'm trying to say. I'm getting used to it. (Tuesday) morning, it was kind of cold. I'm not used to all that cold. They said it wasn't even cold. I'm going to have to find a big jacket and get used to it. It's not going to slow me down."

"I've never seen snow. I saw snow for the first time when I came on my visit. I'm not used to it."

Do you have any connection with Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen (also a Fort Meade native)?
"I'm pretty familiar with him. As a matter of fact, his dad was my coach in high school. He was my JV coach (for track). He helped out on varsity a lot. He is a pastor, and I went to his church a couple times. He was my baseball coach. I'm cool with him."

Did he teach you how to steal bases too?
"When I was playing baseball, yeah."

Have you seen McCutchen since you've been here?
"No, I haven't seen him in person. I haven't got in contact with him yet since they're still playing baseball."

Any reverse plays where you have an option to throw?
"We did one in practice, one time. Hopefully, we get a lot more. I'm ready."

Josh Brinson

What made you decide on Pitt?
"Just knowing with the new coaching staff being here, be able to be a part of something new. I think we have an opportunity to be a part of something special. Everything that Coach Graham is doing, with the offense and everything, I think we have a real good chance of winning the Big East and a shot at the National Championship. I want to be a part of something special. Off the field, what (the coaches) stand for."

What were your other options besides Pitt?
"I was getting looked at by San Diego State and by the University of Miami."

Were you aware you'd have an opportunity to contribute right away?
"It's a real good feeling. I just want to be, whatever I can be for the team, to help out. It's a real good feeling to be in the mix and get a lot of reps. Mike Shanahan, and all the players like Cameron Saddler and Devin Street, just taking me under their wing, Coach Norvell too. I just want to do my part and contribute."

What will your role be?
"I play the two and the five. In this offense, you have to learn every position, basically. Right now, I'm going to be playing the five due to injuries. Personally, I think I'll be outside (at the two) this year."

What's the difference between the two and the nine?
"The two and the nine are somewhat similar. The five is the only different position. You just go against the backers and the safeties. You need a bigger body, and be more aggressive too."

Is the two designed for someone who has running back capabilities?
"Not really. Basically, it's just an outside receiver. It's not as much going against backers and safeties. It's pretty much receiver."

Is this offense similar to one you've played in before?
"Never. Everything is new to me. The tempo is new to me, even the concepts. Some concepts are pretty much the same. Between the tempo, the fast-pace offense and just being able to get the signals. I never ran an offense like this every year. There was always a huddle. It's a big difference for me. When we're on the field, when we're done with the first play, we have to get lined up for the next play. We get those signals in, and you have to be ready to know and read the defense. This offense is totally new to me. I never ran it before."

Did you play in a spread or pro-style before?
"My high school was a pro-style. El Camino was like a spread. We ran a mixture of both. We ran a huddle. The no-huddle offense, the spread (at Pitt), it's different."

Did you know anybody that went to Pitt?
"I know someone that went here, Kenard Cox. I know him and I know his mother. When I was in high school, I was actually thinking about Pitt. I'd get mail from Pitt. They were obviously in the back of my mind. When I actually had the opportunity to come here, I jumped at it."

Where did you play your high school ball?
"South Dade in Homestead, Florida."

What drew you to El Camino from Florida?
"They were pretty prestigious. El Camino, it was like California having the best high school team. They have a lot of people playing college football. I knew a couple players from back at home that went out there and got big-time scholarship offers; Mike Harris, Kenbrell Thompkins, players like that. I saw that as a chance for me to go out there and be a part of that."

"That's a blessing. The coaches, and them being persistent with their work and just helping us with all they can do; everything they can sacrifice time away from their families. They helped us giving us our opportunities at junior college, and helping us get big-time scholarships at big schools."

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