December 29, 2011

Jones readies for final game

Jamie Jones has learned a lot during his five years at Mississippi State.

And all of the learning did not all take place in the classroom. On the practice field the linebacker was hitting the books as well having to learn a new defense as he has seen a new position coach each year he has been on campus.

Ellis Johnson (2007), Louis Campbell (2008), Carl Torbush (2009), Manny Diaz (2010) and finally Geoff Collins (2011) have all mentored Jones as a linebackers coach during his tenure.

"It really has changed," Jones said. "Our defenses have changed. Sometimes things stayed the same but a lot of the names changed. It's like having to learn a whole new defense every year. It makes you learn a lot better and makes you learn different defenses and I like that."

Jones has also had the opportunity to line up beside several future NFL linebackers during his time in Starkville and has tried to pass along the knowledge he has gained from them to some of MSU's younger linebacking corps.

Over the past few weeks as the Bulldogs have been preparing for the Music City Bowl against Wake Forest, Jones has been mentoring the younger linebackers for the final time.

"This means everything to me," Jones said. "I've been thinking about it even before the season. I've said every day I've got to come out here and give it all I've got. This is my last go-around and I've got to go out here and try to lead these boys and show the young guys how to practice for when I'm gone.

"I've been trying to do that ever since I became older. I've been trying to show these guys how to study film and how to practice to get ready for the game. With a lot of young guys playing linebacker I've been trying to teach them everything I've experienced from guys like Jamar Chaney and Dominic Douglas who showed me the way."

The six-foot, 240-pounder has appeared in 38 games during his Bulldog career including one start. He has made 24 tackles, two stops for loss and recovered two fumbles.

Jones has not had many reps on defense during seven games this season but has made six tackles including one for loss. Most of his contributions as a senior have come on special teams.

"My role is to go out there on punt block and kickoff return and do my job, my 1/11th like we say around here," Jones said. "I enjoy it every time. I want to make sure I know every position on special teams so if somebody goes down I'll be the one to step up and go in."

With his career down to one final game, Jones is happy with the way he is exiting the program and feels like its poised for big things in the future.

"My first year here when we went to the Liberty Bowl I felt like there were a lot of guys who were trying to build it up," Jones said. "I felt like it was my and a lot of other guys role to take that on. When Coach (Dan) Mullen came he tried to take things up to a whole other level and I think we've done that and things will keep going."

Jones graduated from Mississippi State earlier this month with a degree in fitness management. If a career in professional football is not in his future then Jones plans to return to school to get his masters to degree and hopes to become a trainer or work in the communications field.

"I was one of the guys who really didn't like school when I first got here," Jones said. "But I plan on going back to school and getting my masters. I'll train and do pro day and see if anything happens with the NFL or maybe even Canada."

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