Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Syracuse's Chandler Jones looks for more
By Brian Bennett
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Bodies are smashing into one another in a Syracuse goal-line drill, but new Orange defensive line coach Tim Daoust has his eye on defensive end Chandler Jones.
"Be more violent!" he yells to Jones.
Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones is hoping to build on a 2010 season that saw him finish with 57 tackles, 9.5 for loss and three forced fumbles.
Daoust pays special attention to the fourth-year junior for good reason. Jones has as much potential as any defensive player in the Big East, and Syracuse will need more out of him to reach its goals this season.
Jones has had a fine start to his college career. After starting eight games as a freshman, he made the All-Big East second team in 2010 with 57 tackles, 9.5 for loss and three forced fumbles.
And yet there's a feeling that he's only scratching the surface. His older brother Arthur was a dominating defensive tackle for the Orange who is now in the NFL. Another brother, Jon, recently became the youngest fighter in UFC history to win a title belt. Chandler Jones is a 6-foot-5, 250-pounder with limitless potential.
"I feel like I've played decent," he said. "I feel like I haven't peaked yet. Hopefully, this will be the year."
One number sticks out to Jones as he evaluates his career thus far: six. That's his sack total for the past two seasons, including four last season (half of those came against Maine). It seems way too low.
"I see Bruce Irvin at West Virginia, and he has 14 sacks in one season," Jones said. "Then you've got other guys like Julian Miller from West Virginia, Brandon Lindsey from Pitt. I look at their stats and am like, 'Wow, what are they doing?'"
Jones's goal is to get his name up on that Big East sacks leaderboard this season, and he's hoping some new methods Daoust is teaching will help him in that quest.
"I've changed my whole stance," Jones said. "I used to be more of a reactor -- I would wait and let the ball snap, watch the play and go get it. Coach Daoust has me attacking. My butt is up, and I'm leaning forward like I'm in a track stance. That should give me some better takeoff, and I should be in the backfield more this year."
Linebackers Doug Hogue and Derrell Smith were the point men for the attacking Syracuse defense a year ago. Now that they've graduated, the linebacker group is young and inexperienced, and the Orange also lost both starters at defensive tackle. The defensive ends, led by Jones and Mikhail Marinovich, should be the strength of the front seven this season.
Head coach Doug Marrone says Jones' skill set reminds him of when he was coaching in the NFL, and he'd have to draw up game plans for stopping intimidating pass rushers like Dwight Freeney.
"There were times last year with Chandler where -- I don't know if dominating is too much of a word -- but he was flat-out playing well," Marrone said. "He has that type of ability where he can be a force."
The Orange need those times to be more frequent and that force to become stronger this season. Being more violent is one place to start for Chandler Jones.