August 27, 2009

Jones hopes to make impact on D-line

Abry Jones can laugh about it now.

During the state track meet last May in nearby Jefferson, the former Northside-Warner Robins standout was part of a select group of athletes competing for the Class AAAAA state shot put championship.

Jones scratched on all three of his attempts.

"Man, that was bad," Jones said. "I couldn't believe it."

Fortunately for Jones, his football career is definitely right on track.

As the Bulldogs continue preparations for their season-opener at Oklahoma State, the true freshman is working his way up the depth chart and could be in line to see action at some point this fall.

"I've pretty much been doing second-team stuff," Jones said. "I've been rotating in with a lot of the older guys, stuff like that. When they get done, when Jeff (Owens) and Geno (Atkins), Kade (Weston), DeAngelo (Tyson) and Brandon (Wheeling) get done, I'm the next one to go in. When they get done with their reps, that's when the coaches look for me."

Like all freshmen who come in under defensive line coach Rodney Garner, Jones' indoctrination to the position and "Life with Coach G" has certainly been difficult at times.

But apparently Jones has made progress, so much so that Garner singled him during a recent interview with UGASports.

In fact, Garner said that Jones is ahead of where Tyson was at this point last season, although he joked that may not be as impressive a statement as it sounds.

"I may have been ahead of where DeAngelo was last year," Garner smiled. "If Jeff hadn't of gone done I don't think we would have thrown him into the fire like we did, that's the thing. But I'm excited about Abry. I think he's going to be a really good player."

From a weight standpoint, Jones has already made tremendous strides.

Listed at 292 when he signed with Georgia back in February, Jones said he ballooned up to 310 pounds before getting back to down to 295 pounds midway through camp.

Today, Jones said he's a svelte 286.

"Coach Van (Dave Van Halanger) and Coach Clay (Walker) have done a great job getting me in the shape that I am," Jones said. "They've got me really feeling good about myself."

That confidence is spilling over to how Jones plays the game.

While Jones always hoped he would get a chance to play as a freshman, he never thought the opportunity might come so soon.

"I've got confidence in myself, so to me it's not a surprise, although I guess the surprise could be how fast I've done it," Jones said. "I thought it would take me at least to mid-season to get to this level. When I came in I didn't think I was going to get to play this year. I just hoped to show Coach Garner what I could do so he could look out for me next year."

But as it stands now, Jones could see playing time faster than he ever dreamed.

"I think there's a good chance but I don't think anything is guaranteed," Jones said. "I think I've worked hard enough where Coach G might consider me, but it's not for certain that I will. If I do, it will just mean I get to boost the goals I set for myself before the season began."

Jones joked that he heard all kind of war stories about what it was going to be like playing under Garner from team veterans like Owens and Atkins.

He listened to every word.

"They told me it was going to be rough, that Coach G was going to be hard on me, but that was expecting good things out of me," Jones said. "They just said if I made sure I learned the playbook and learned the basics that would take a lot of pressure off me in camp. So that's what I did. I came, in, tried to learn the system, study the playbook and that made things a little easier so I can go out and just play."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!