Friday, April 30, 2010
Q&A: Wake Forest QB Skylar Jones
By David Ubben
Skylar Jones finished the spring at Wake Forest as the quarterback picked to replace Riley Skinner, a four-year starter for the Demon Deacons.
In the spring game, Jones completed 4-of-5 passes for 38 yards and ran seven times for 21 yards.
David Ubben: Were you at all surprised you came out of the spring with the job?
Skylar Jones: I guess you could say I was sort of surprised, but at the same time, I still know that there's a whole lot of work I need to do to get better, and that what my main thing is: to go out there and compete hard. I try to get better throwing, making reads and just understanding the whole offense and trying to figure out what the defense is trying to do coverage-wise, blitz-wise and everything like that. Most importantly, keep trying to gain the trust of my coaches and teammates.
Where have you grown the most, solely as a passer, since last year ended?
SJ: Everyone knows about my mobility, but they really kind of question my arm. But I really don't think the coaches question my arm too much. If they really questioned my arm, I really don't think I'd be playing quarterback. But everybody looks at strengths and weaknesses and I guess a lot of people consider my arm a weakness. But I really worked diligently on working on my arm, just accuracy and timing of routes and everything like that, and toward the end of spring, I could really tell I was starting to understand more of the offense. And coach [Tom] Elrod, our quarterback coach, tells me all the time, 'Once you go out there, and you know what you're doing plays-wise and know what the defense is doing, talent starts to take over.' And he's been right. So, I definitely believe that my arm is capable of a whole lot.
DU: Feel much pressure following a guy like Riley?
SJ: There is pressure, but at the same time, I really don't believe in pressure, because it's not all about me. There's 10 other guys out there, and more on defense and special teams. So there's 22 guys out there. Riley's done -- words can't even describe what Riley's done for this program, and he's a great guy. He will be truly missed here, but we've got a great group of receivers and a great defense coming back, and those guys take some pressure off of me when they do great things like make plays. All I've gotta do is get the ball to my receivers and they make plays.
DU: What's the best thing you learned from him in your time there?
SJ: Poise. I would say poise and confidence and not getting rattled. Every time I'd see Riley, he was always ready to bounce back. Whether he threw an interception or made a bad play, he was always ready to come back and ready for the next series and the next play. When bad things happen, you've gotta bounce back and make something good, and he's done that throughout his whole career here.
DU: Obviously, the two of you are very different players. How have you tweaked the offense to fit what you do?
SJ: Our offensive scheme right now is completely different than what we did last year. We're a little more run-oriented team so far, but we'll still whip it out there. Our offense, there's a lot of misdirection and getting guys out in open space.
DU: Anything else I should know?
SJ: Yes. I just wanted to say, a lot of people think that we'll probably not be that good this year, or toward the bottom of the ACC, but I really believe that with the core group of guys we have now -- what's different about this team now is the team unity. Everyone's together, everyone's pushing each other in the weight room, out there at practice and in the classroom, pushing each other to make grades so everyone has good academics. That's really all I wanted to say. Our team unity, everybody's just together this year and I really think we can make some noise with the talent we have.