Jones returns roaring and ready

Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms has been itching for the return of senior wide receiver Gerald Jones. It appears that Simms will get his wish just in time for the teams first road trip to Baton Rouge.

Matt Simms has said that an offense shouldn't focus on one player, but Simms certainly could use senior wide receiver Gerald Jones.

It looks like the quarterback will get that chance when Tennessee goes on the road for the first time this fall in Baton Rouge. Gerald Jones returned to practice Tuesday afternoon with plate and some gauze protecting his hand.

"I am full go, all out, 100 percent, I am ready and I feel great," said Jones following Tuesday's practice.

Jones broke a small bone in the middle of his hand during Tennessee's game with UT Martin in the first week of the season, but Jones isn't worried about that happening again.

"I fell on it today and it felt fine. How often to you fall and break your hand? Very clumsy by me, you know," said Jones with a smile.

In fact despite that broken hand Jones says there a very few concerns as he returns to practice.

"By biggest concern is catching the low ball," Jones said. "My pinky is kind of exposed. I try and catch my low balls with my right hand supporting my pinky."

Jones pushed to get back to play against UAB for this past Saturday's game and was even catching balls late last week, in secret of course.

"I wanted to get back so bad," said Jones. "I was catching last Thursday, I wasn't catching hard balls from the quarterbacks, but I was catching. I wasn't really ready mentally because I hadn't been in the film room and looking at the plays."

Jones can't wait to get back and test himself against one of the toughest corners in the Southeastern Conference.

"I am like a kid at a candy store," said Jones. "I am so ready for number seven (Patrick Peterson). I am ready for him - I probably watched film on him for about two hours yesterday.

"I think a lot of people fear him because he is so big. He is a pretty good athlete, but he has his weakness too, he isn't Superman. I am going to give him my all and its going to be a battle Saturday."

Jones said it was hard to watch fellow wide receiver Denarius Moore attract countless double-teams throughout the past three games, but not anymore.

"I felt like D-Mo was kind of helpless," said Jones. "Teams were putting and corner and a safety on him, making it two on one. It won't be that way this coming weekend."

Jones has dealt with injuries throughout his career at Tennessee, but this time was different.

"My biggest goal was to try and stay positive for my teammates and for myself. I think I did a good job with that away from football, when normally I don't when I get hurt.

"The hardest thing was coming to practice and watching the games," said Jones. "Its frustrating, but I didn't let it show – I am proud of myself because that lets me know I am growing up and becoming a man."

Most would think losing playing time would hurt the stamina level of a football player, but Jones says it has had the opposite affect.

"Believe it or not I think I am in better shape than I was coming into the season," said Jones. You tend to get out of shape during the season. My stamina was pretty good, probably because I was excited to get out there more than anything, but my stamina was pretty good."

Head coach Derek Dooley joked previously about giving Jones penmanship test before he would be allowed to practice, but that proved to be ineffective in Jones' case.

"Its my left hand, so I should be alright," said Jones with a laugh.


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