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Thursday, March 3, 2011
Fixing turnovers priority for Butch Jones

By Brian Bennett

I spent some time Thursday at Cincinnati for a story that will appear soon. While there, I got to chat with Bearcats head coach Butch Jones about his team heading into spring practice, which doesn't begin for them until March 29.

Obviously, one of the priorities this spring is correcting the turnover problems that so plagued the 2010 team. Last year, Cincinnati lost 29 turnovers and had the second-worst turnover margin in the country. It's not like Jones and his staff don't know how to teach ball security; his last two Central Michigan teams bettered the national average for turnover margin, and those two teams combined to lose the ball fewer times than the 2010 Bearcats.

Jones said the problem was mostly poor technique by a handful of players. Receiver D.J. Woods had a fumbling issue and needs to get stronger physically so defenders can't poke the ball free; Jones said Woods has had a good winter in the weight room. Jones also has a new coaching technique for this spring: assistants will use a click counter to track all the times they see an offensive player swinging the ball or doing other things that can lead to a fumble. For every one of those instances, running will be served as punishment.

A few other quick notes: