Jefferson Discusses His Return

Redshirt sophomore cornerback Anthony Jefferson talks about sitting out most of the last two years with injuries, and what his goals are for the spring...

Q: How's everything feeling, are you feeling healthy?

A: I'm feeling healthy. We started workouts and everything a couple weeks ago. Everything's going alright. We're doing a bunch of stuff with the new strength and conditioning coach, and it seems pretty effective as of now, and I'm liking how it's going.

Q: Is it still rehab that you have to do, or are you getting on a typical strength plan?

A: I'm still doing some treatment stuff, because there's some tightness. And in my leg, it's just about getting strength back and dealing with some tightness. But I'm feeling good, and I think I'm going to be good to go.

Q: You've had a pretty star crossed run here so far. Foot injury a year ago, back injury this year…

A: Yeah, I had some torn ligaments in my foot that I had to have surgery on. And then going into this season I had the back surgery in August that put me out.

Q: How difficult was it sitting out this year with the back injury?

A: It's frustrating because once I was getting healthy from my foot injury, I felt like I was finally going to be coming back. After sitting out my freshman year, it was just kind of frustrating having to deal with another season ending injury. So that's kind of where I've been at right now, just frustrated with the injuries. But I'm looking positive. I'm getting healthy, so I see good things in the future.

Q: Does it feel like you've had two years in the program, or does it kind of feel like this is your first year again, just considering how little you've been able to play?

A: Coming in, I had high expectations for myself and so did the coaches, so it's just been disappointing not to do what people had expected for me and what I had expected for me, but during these two years, it's just been all about staying positive and having faith in God and just knowing that you need to stay positive and not give up no matter what situation comes at you.

Q: This year, with all the injuries in the secondary, were you thinking that you could have broken in there if you'd been fully healthy?

A: I feel like I could have broken in as soon as I got here as a freshman. And then I got hurt. And then the second year, we did have a lot of problems in the secondary, so I felt like I could have contributed if I'd been healthy.

Q: This year, you came back for a few practices in November, and it looked like you might have still been feeling some pain. How were you feeling then?

A: I mean, just from being out for so long, I was a little rusty. It was hard, just trying to get my step back or whatever in my leg. But I was positive, and I was working as much as I could to get back in there. I really wanted to make it back this year. But unfortunately I couldn't get back soon enough to finish out the season. I'm just staying positive about the whole situation, and trying to get back as soon as I can.

Q: How did the back injury affect you? How much was it affecting your movement?

A: With the back injury, I had a disc herniation, and whenever you have a disc herniation, it's because there's pressure on your nerves. So there was pressure on my nerves, causing my leg not to function or trigger right. So that was the whole extent of the injury, but it obviously kept me out.

Q: When it happened, did you expect your recovery to take as long as it did?

A: Not really, but it just depends on the person, and everybody is different. I think my recovery has just been a slow process, but it's going to heal up.

Q: Have you been able to have any one on one time with Coach Martin over the last few weeks?

A: Oh yeah, I talked with Coach Martin when he just got here. Me and Coach Martin had a relationship since high school because he recruited me at Washington, so me and him go way back. Our relationship is already pretty good, and it has been for a while. I've been talking to him every now and then. So we're cool, he's a good dude.

Q: How much interaction have you had with Coach Mora so far?

A: I've met with him one or two times, and we've just talked about my injuries and getting healthy, and everything that he expects out of the team and our attitude this year. And I really like what he's preaching to us. He's a good dude and he just wants everybody to be all in this year, because that's what it's going to take to have a successful season.

Q: Do you think there's a different vibe around the program with Mora in charge?

A: I mean, just the fact that it's a new coach. Everybody knows that they're going to have prove themselves and just buckle down and really just be focused on doing good this season. And just the fact that, as a team, I feel like in general, we're kind of tired of losing. And we want our attitude to change. So we're just all in this year. You can just tell that from just working out, and all the new coaches coming in. We feel like we just need to change this program, and change the attitude around it.

Q: Have you been working closely with Sal Alosi?

A: Yeah, since we just started workouts, we've probably been as close with him as any of the new coaches just because he's monitoring all of our workouts. We're one on one with him every day for workouts and everything, so we've built a good bond with Coach Alosi. We can kind of see what he expects and everything now that we've started workouts.

Q: Are those expectations different than what you had with Mike Linn?

A: They're just different. They have different views on things, and Coach Alosi, he just brings the training that he did in the NFL and his past experience. As far as strength and speed, they're both focused on the same thing, but it's just different techniques, I guess, and different ways to do it.

Q: All these changes in the offseason, losing a coaching staff and also some teammates earlier than expected, has it been strange for you considering you never really got a chance to show much of what you could do for the old staff?

A: It's definitely strange. It's different. But that's what college is. It's just like the NFL: there are going to be changes when things aren't going well. Everybody kind of expected that and everybody's like, we know it's a business. So you can't really depend on a set coaching staff or anything set for you while you're in college, or at this level. I'm not really upset about it or anything, it just is what it is and you just have to go on and move forward.

Q: Moving forward, what are your goals for this spring, and fall. Obviously staying healthy has to be primary, but what else are you looking to see?

A: Getting and staying totally healthy is the big one. But I think I can also compete for playing time. My goal is basically just to show the coaches that I'm a good player and that I can help the team win and hopefully just get out on the field and just show them what my highest potential can be.

Q: There was a rumor going around that the coaches might be considering moving you to receiver. Has that actually been talked about?

A: I haven't talked to any of the coaches about moving to wideout. But I'm open for anything. I'll do whatever it takes to help and be out on the field.

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