Wisconsin football coach Barry Alvarez addressed the media
Wednesday at the O'Connor Center in Madison, where the Badgers hold fall camp
practices. The first item in Alvarez' opening statement regarded defensive
lineman Darius Jones, who, as was announced Tuesday evening, will be suspended
one game for violating team rules.
Alvarez stated that he has not decided when Jones' suspension will begin and he refused to give any further details regarding the suspension.
UW has not made any official announcements regarding what led to the suspension and Jones has not directly addressed the nature of the suspension. The Wisconsin State Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday, however, that Jones suspension was likely the result of citations Jones received July 21 for drunk driving and speeding. He is due in Shorewood Hills Municipal Court Aug. 11.
Prior to Wednesday's first team practice, Jones also stated that he does not know when he will serve his suspension.
"The incident happened; that was pretty much what happened and that was pretty much all that was said about it," Jones said.
Linebacker Jeff Mack, one of Wisconsin's captains, stated that Jones' suspension has not affected the team's demeanor.
"We are fine. We are fine," Mack said. "There are no worries. This is something that happens and is something that you have to go through. It is something that hurts and it makes you upset and it makes you mad but everybody is human, everybody makes mistakes. The thing is now we have to deal with it and move through it. That's all there really is. There is really not much else to be said."
"It is just an incident where just being young you make a mistake," Jones said. "You have just got to learn from your mistake and I am learning from my mistake now."
Jones, who was dubbed an All-American by a myriad of publications after his senior season at Beloit (Wis.) Memorial High School, fought through injuries his first three years on campus. Playing primarily on special teams, Jones was one of three true freshmen to earn a varsity letter in 2000. He also converted from his high school linebacker position to the defensive line that season. The following year, injuries forced Jones to take a hardship redshirt. He had played in two games, recording 10 tackles, one for loss.
Despite playing part of last season with a cast on his arm, Jones enjoyed a breakout season, recording 42 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and five sacks. He also broke up six passes and intercepted a pass in 2002.
Now, Jones believes he has fallen out of the coaching staff's good graces, but he feels he can work his way back to the forefront.
"Anybody that does that and, I mean, you are going to be in the doghouse," Jones said. "I feel like I'm in the doghouse. I just need to come out and play hard, practice hard. Do those kind of things."
Jones believe he can put the incident behind him and become a leader of the Badgers defense:
"I definitely want to become a defensive leader this year. I really want to step up and show the coaches and my players that I can be a leader and that you can count on me for this season. If you need a big play, you need a quarterback sack, you need a hurry, you can count on me to get it, if not cause it."