LINCOLN, Neb. – In his first year as a starter, junior cornerback Chris Jones has become a staple of the Blackshirts.
He leads the team in pass breakups, is tied for second on the team with three interceptions and is sixth on the team in tackles.
But, in his mind, his game so far has been about average.
“If I had to give myself a grade of how I’ve been doing this year, it’d probably be a B-minus,” Jones told Landof10.
B-minus? For a guy rumored to be leaving for the NFL after this year?
“I think I’ve been covering my receiver well, I just still have to work on my technique,” Jones said. “I just still have to get my press technique better.”
Every week, Jones said, his competition seems to get better, and this week is no different. Ohio State boasts the best offense in the Big Ten, and Jones knows he and ‘Lockdown U’ are in for a challenge.
“I mean, they play a whole lot of receivers,” Jones said. “Some are fast, and all of them can run routes. Most of them you gotta find little tweaks to each receiver.”
That will be the key this week, Jones said. Finding those small advantages. Like a receiver who breaks slow going one way and fast the other. Those little things, that gives Jones just enough of an advantage.
But he also thinks there’s something else that he has over the Ohio State offense.
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State’s stud quarterback, reminds him of someone he knows pretty well.
“He reminds me of Tommy (Armstrong),” Jones said. “He reminds me of Tommy a lot. He could be on the opposite hash and still make a strong throw all the way across the field. You just have to be on your p’s and q’s.”
Having gone against Armstrong for all these years, especially in fall camp and spring practice when the No. 1 offense plays the No. 1 defense on a consistent basis, Jones said he is prepared to play against a mobile quarterback.
Barrett is really calm in the pocket, which is his best attribute, Jones said.
“I notice on film that if his receivers are covered he works his progressions and he’s a very calm quarterback in the pocket, and that’s his big asset,” Jones said. “I just need to make sure I work on my technique. Just make sure I’m as close as I can be on my receivers. Just giving them a small window to throw to.”
If Nebraska comes out with a win, and Jones plays well, yeah, he’d probably bump his grade up a bit.
Maybe to a B.
“I’m just looking forward to the matchup,” Jones said.