Pride Exclusive: Deddrick Jones

The success of USM's football team this coming up season will rely heavily on how well the defensive line can gel together. The line was the weak point on the team last year, but fans hope that more experience, along with a few new names, this group will develop into a strength. One of the guys that will be counted on to make this happen is Deddrick Jones.

Deddrick had a good season in 2008, starting in nine games and accounting for 20 tackles, 3.5 of which were for a loss. He hopes to improve on these numbers this year and get more pressure on the QB.

"I am trying to get better at pass rushing" says the sophomore out of Bastrop Louisiana "I want to get at least nine sacks. Last year I was a freshman, but that isn't an excuse for not getting one sack."

Jones has been taking advantage of spring practice in order to really make a name for himself among the coaches.

"Spring has been really good" says Jones "We have been coming out and working hard every day. The coaches have me working really hard and I feel like I am getting better every day."

The line was certainly the focus of a lot of criticism last year, but Jones feels like the line has gotten a bad rap.

"We have definitely improved. People don't know what we go through out here and they don't know how much work we put in out here."

The loss of Eric Phillips is a cause for concern, but Jones feels like they have more than enough on the line to fill in for the Phillips.

"The line will be much better this year, I mean we lost Eric Phillips, but the line is going to step it up. We will be a lot better than last year… a lot."

Deddrick has lofty goals for the team, but he seems pretty confident that he and his teammates on the line can lead Southern Miss to new heights.

"You got Roshaad Byrd who is really good. Then you got the speedster with Cordarro Law. Andrew Burns has also been pretty impressive." Says Jones "Hopefully, we can step it up and bring USM a BCS bowl championship."

To get to a BCS bowl, the only feasible path USM could take would be an unbeaten one. Deddrick knows that the Eagles will have to get up for every game in order to achieve these goals.

"I have been excited ever since the new schedule came out, I am ready to play" says Deddrick "We are ready for all of them, I mean, you have to be prepared for all of them."

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