November 28, 2011

Jones not backing down

Linebacker Jarvis Jones has heard the talk touting the excellence that describes LSU defense, ranked second in all of college football giving up just 248.42 yards and 10.58 points per game.

But when Jones looks around at what he and his Georgia teammates have accomplished on the defensive side, he wants the rest of college football to know that the Bulldogs are pretty good, too.

"I mean, everybody praises LSU defense, but I think - I know we've got a pretty good defense. We're not cocky at all. We're just going to play. We do our job and get out on the field. We like having fun. We love playing football. We're aggressive. We play just as well as them," Jones said during a Monday teleconference with reporters. "A lot of people don't give us credit of how they play and how we play. I think we play two different styles. I think our defense is just as good as theirs, if not better."

From a statistical standpoint, Georgia would not appear to be far off.

The Bulldogs rank fifth in total defense at 271.08 yards, and are sixth against the run allowing 94.75. LSU ranks fourth in rush defense at 86.08.

As for the Tiger offense, stopping LSU's four-headed monster backfield of Spencer Ware, Michael Ford, Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard won't be easy.

Add in quarterback Jordan Jefferson who likes to run behind an offensive line averaging well over 300 pounds, and the Tigers no doubt will present a challenge that Jones and the Bulldogs have not seen before.

But Jones promises Georgia's defense won't be backing down.

"It's a challenge for us as a defense. But you always want to be challenged, and you want to step up, and you want to accomplish those challenges. So it's going to be a big day for us. We're looking forward to it. We know they've got a lot of great players over on their side of the ball," Jones said. "We've just got to become a student of the game, just keep doing what we've been doing. We've got to find their formation, do the things that we do best, and disrupt offenses, get to the quarterback, hit running backs behind the line of scrimmage, and get the ball out."

LSU offensive guard Will Blackwell said Jones certainly has the Tigers' attention.

With 13.5 sacks, Jones is on the verge of passing David Pollack's single-season mark of 14 and it's that ability as a disrupter that has garnered the attention of Blackwell and the rest of LSU's offensive line.

"The biggest problem we'll have is blocking him," Blackwell said. "He's made a lot of plays and he's a big physical guy who likes to get his hand on the ground, run downhill and make tackles. Fortunately, we've faced some linebackers this year who have been pretty tough to block, but it's definitely going to be the biggest challenge for us."

Jones promises the Tigers will see the best he has to offer.

It's certainly been an All-American caliber year for Jones, who has 19.5 tackles for loss to go along with his 13.5 sacks; not bad considering this is his first full season since a neck injury in 2009 led to his transfer from Southern Cal to Georgia where he sat out last year.

"All that stuff is kind of like used for motivation. Being at SC, not being able to play no more, it was a big drop-off for me. It was kind of crazy not being there to play football no more. Now that I've got the opportunity, I take advantage of it every time I step on the field, practice or in the game. I try to leave everything I've got," Jones said. "I try to respect the game. They say, if you don't respect the game, the game don't respect you. Every opportunity I get, I try to make something of it."