Interview: Rushen Jones, cornerback

VandyMania talked with starting cornerback Rushen Jones, a leading candidate for All-SEC honors in the season ahead. Jones talked about his injury last year and the competition during the spring for positions in the defensive secondary.

VandyMania: You missed a bunch of games down the stretch last year. Talk about your injury a little bit-- are you 100 percent now?

Rushen: The wrist is a whole lot better now. 100 percent. It took a little while, but I'm fully back to 100 percent.

VM: It seems like I remember that if you compare the scores given up last year by the defense for the games you were in against the games you weren't in, there was a big difference.

Rushen: (Laugh) Yeah, it was a pretty big difference. We had some pretty tough times on defense [last year], but we're going to see if we can't get that cranked around this year.

VM: It's a whole new coaching staff you're working with this year. As far as the defensive backs go, is it almost like starting from scratch?

Rushen: Yeah, it's almost all new, because everybody has their different techniques they're trying to teach. You have to learn a new defense, and basically just getting into the swing of a whole new system and dealing with new coaches. I think it's all going to be for the better.

VM: In the Woody defense, you guys were left to do a lot of one-on-one coverage. Do you think it will be very similar to that?

Rushen: It will be a little similar, but the coverages will be disguised a little more. The teams won't recognize when we're in the man defense, because it will look the same as cover-three. So the schemes may be a little different, but I'm pretty sure the man coverage will probably be the same.

VM: Probably if we started today it would be you and Aaron McWhorter at the corners. But I know there are some young guys who are pushing you guys, and especially some freshmen. Tell me who you've been impressed by so far this spring.

Rushen: I've been impressed with Cheron [Thompson], Dominique [Morris], and of course Lorenzo Parker. Lorenzo came in for me last year, and he was a freshman All-SEC. Those three guys have really stepped up their play. And like Coach Johnson says, in order to win games, everybody is going to have to contribute. So we're going to need everybody to come out and play their best. Those guys have really stepped up and played well this spring.

VM: You've probably got a chance to get some All-SEC mentions this year. Tell me your feelings on that.

Rushen: Well, if that comes, that's fine, but I'm more concerned about getting some wins, and going out with a bowl ring. That would seem a lot better than getting All-SEC. The coaching staff has been hard on us, getting us ready, and we're just looking to win some games.

VM: You're from the city of Memphis. Historically Vanderbilt just hasn't had much success going into Memphis and getting players. You're the only one I can think of in the last five years. Now, I know there's been some funny things going on in recruiting in Memphis with some of the other SEC schools. What's your perspective on all that?

Rushen: (Laugh) Well, I'm not sure. I haven't really been keeping up with that. I don't know why. I know a couple of players Vanderbilt has gotten out of Memphis. One guy in basketball was Billy Richmond. But in terms of football I really don't know.

VM: By the fall you're going to be a fifth-year guy. Are you getting your degree this spring?

Rushen: I'll probably get my degree in December, and pick up a minor so I'll be able to play the football season. So I'll be in school through December. Top Stories