Save The Bones For Cody Jones

Save The Bones For Cody Jones

With California having to replace three of its four starting linemen from last year, one player who's been seeing duty at both the defensive tackle and defensive end positions this fall. Sophomore Cody Jones is hoping to parlay his experience from last year into a bigger role in 2007.

Throughout camp, Jones has worked primarily with the first-team defensive line and he's happy with how things have gone.

"It's going really well," said the 6-5, 270 pound sophomore. "The defensive line unit has been working really hard together."

Coming off of a season where he started one game and saw plenty of reserve duty, Jones gained enough experience to understand how he needed to prepare for this season.

"I've made lots of improvement," said Jones. "Since last season, I've worked harder than ever before, doing running and hitting the weights. I made sure to be here every day and commit to getting better and better so that I'd be able to contribute to the defensive line."

While Jones has primarily played defensive end during the fall, the coaches are also having him get some work at defensive tackle.

"They've been moving me around, rotating me out between end and tackle to try things out," said Jones. "It's really helped me learn to play the run.   When you play defensive tackle, you get double-teamed a lot and the O-line tries to drive you down.  You really have to find it within yourself when they're going at you two at a time.  It really helps when I go back to playing end and I'm up against just one player."

Although he's now playing the defensive line, Jones initially played quarterback in high school before switching to tight end during his senior season.  While the thought of a defensive lineman playing quarterback might seem strange, he was a long way from Jared Lorenzen-type heft back then.

"When I was playing quarterback, I was playing around 215. I concentrated on playing quarterback in my freshman, sophomore and junior year," said Jones. "The colleges thought I had more of a future at tight end, so I switched, and ended up being All-State. That worked out pretty well."

During his senior year at Tucson's Sabino High School, he had an unusual stat line of passing for 916 yards and 13 touchdowns, catching 20 passes for 469 yards and six touchdowns and making five sacks.

While one won't find Jones trying to sneak in with the quarterbacks during drills, he did inquire about the possibility of playing tight end, but with the Bears needing players for the defensive line, he came off of a redshirt year in 2005 to play in all 13 games last season, including a start against Minnesota.

As much as Jones enjoys football, there's one sport that he likes even more. Now keep in mind, that this is coming from a player who grew up in southern Arizona.

"I love hockey," said Jones, who played three years of varsity ice hockey. "I really like football, but hockey's probably my favorite sport. "I went to a camp when I was 6 or 7, and liked it so much that I started playing regularly in Tucscon and Phoenix."

Jones was named All-State in 2003 and his favorite part of hockey is an apt one, coming from a lineman.

"Hitting people," Jones said. "I like playing defense and I like hitting people. It's really fun."

Since coming to Cal two years ago, Jones has added about 35 pounds.

"I came in at 240 and now I'm at 275. I'd like to stay around that this year. Last year I was about 250 to 260. Even though it seems like a lot to put on, I've been putting on weight slowly," said Jones who, unlike the title character of the 1940s Johnny Mercer song "Save the Bones for Henry Jones" would eat anything but meat, Jones - Cody, has no such issue.  "They feed us well here."

However, the process of adding weight involves more than gulping protein shake after protein shake.

"I've been doing weight work along with conditioning," said Jones.  "The toughest part has been increasing weight while keeping my speed and agility."

This season, he hopes all that extra work will help him to have a bigger role in the defense.

"I expect to go out there and make plays," said Jones. "I want to be able to go out there, get sacks, try to make five tackles every game and help the defensive line go out and get better as a unit, beat every team and shoot for the Pac-10 championship."

He also hopes he can replicate that feeling that he had in last year's Minnesota game, when the Bear defense put the clamps on a Golden Gopher team that had recently been one of the strongest running teams in the country.

"The best feeling for the defensive line is when you're winning in the fourth quarter, you keep hitting a guy and every time he's going back," said Jones, about the game where Minnesota was limited to 116 yards rushing.  "You're going up against the opponent straight up and you'rer beating him. You don't need to use any tricks, you flat out beat him, and you know you've outworked him. Minnesota was a big run team, and it felt good that we were able to play the run so well."

Notes....During Saturday morning's limited contact practice, DeSean Jackson was held out of drills. Sean Young took his Jackson's place during first team drills...During 11-on-11s, Brandon Hampton had an interception on a long pass as a result of a miscommunication between the receiver and quarterback Nate Longshore...Hampton also broke up a long pass from Longshore to Young...Tad Smith and John Allen had what would have been sacks against the second unit offense...One play was whistled dead for what would have been a sack against Longshore, but a lane opened up when Tyson Alualu rushed Chet Teofilo and put him on his back...Jahvid Best had his usual big play, this one coming on a screen pass from Kyle Reed which he broke for a long gain...

During one set of drills, defensive ends worked on offensive tackles.  The idea was for the end to get to the quarterback, and for the tackle to find ways to buy time...Highlights included Chris Guarnero holding off Justin Gates as well as Smith...Norris Malele and Cody Jones split their two battles...Jonathan Karacazoff blew past Justin Prueitt...Justin Cheadle rode Scott Smith out of the play...Richard Fisher kept Keith Browner at bay...And let's just say Alualu's got a few moves.

For what it's worth, Kevin Riley was the holder when Tom Schneider was practicing field goals and Kyle Reed was holding for Jordan Kay.  Longshore was also getting in some practice fielding the snap and placing the ball...Rulon Davis worked extensively with the first unit at one defensive end position with Cody Jones and Smith switched off on the other.  Alualu and Mika Kane manned the first unit defensive tackle positions...

The first unit offensive line consisted of Mike Gibson, Brian De La Puente, Alex Mack, Norris Malele and Mike Tepper with Chet Teofilo working with them on a few plays...The second unit offensive line consisted of  Matt LairdMark Gray, Guarnero, Mark Boskovich and Mitchell Schwartz, while the third unit offensive line consisted of Sam DeMartinis, Richard Fisher, Mark Gray, Cheadle, and Justin Prueitt, with Laird and Guarnero seeing some work with that unit...

Considerable amount of time was spent on goal line plays.  With Riley and Reed throwing, Syd'Quan Thompson, Thomas DeCoud, Jesse Brooks, Gary Doxy and Chris Conte all did great jobs of each breaking up passes.  Longshore complete a fade pattern to Young despite good coverage from Sean Cattouse...Matt Russi and Greg Van Hoesen each did terrific jobs in stuffing run plays...Justin Forsett scored on a dive...

Installation has started on seatbacks that people ordered along with their season tickets. The cushioned seatbacks are an improvement over last year's canvas seats, and they don't infringe upon the space of the person sitting behind them. The seats are secured to their location with ties, and workers were relying upon a set of printouts to install the seats.  From a general appearance standpoint, the seats, which show up here and there throughout sections depending on who ordered them, would have to be classified as an acquired taste.

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