January 3, 2008

Jones enjoying All-Star experience

Memphis offensive tackle Barrett Jones spent the last year building a reputation as one of the top high school offensive tackles in the nation but this week at the US Army All-American Game, the 6-foot-5, 270-pounder is putting aside his dominant reputation at tackle and playing on the interior line where he'll have a better opportunity for playing time.

"I volunteered to move inside because we are in a unique situation. We basically have eight tackles and I told them I would give it a try. So far it's been going good. I'm learning on the job but I feel like I've picked it up well. The coaches have told me that I am learning quickly," Jones said. "It's not easy because I'm going against tackles for the first time and we have some of the best in the country on our team but it's a great learning experience and I'm giving as much as I get. It's fun for me because I get to play against such great competition and I've already learned so much.

"At this point, only myself and Mike Adams are running on the 1st and 2nd teams so I hope to get a lot of playing time. We haven't figured out the starters yet but we will have two units that replace each other. I'm having a lot of fun."

In the meantime, the week in San Antonio has given Jones the chance to get better acquainted with his future teammate, quarterback Star Jackson.

"Star is doing great. He's playing well and a lot of people are noticing. I knew he was a great player and it's nice seeing him get the recognition here against the best. He has a lot of ability," Jones said. "We've talked and hung out together a little but so far we are working so much there hasn't been a lot of free time. But we get along great. We have talked about the class and how excited we are about next season."

Jones said his experience overall at the US Army All-American practices has been a positive and has helped him become a better player and get a jump start on his college career.

"This has been a great experience for me. To get this kind of coaching and playing time with these great players and coaches is humbling. You can learn so much about yourself," Jones said. "You come up here and on every snap you go against a great player. It's not realistic for anyone to think they will dominate on every play but everyone tries and that is what makes it fun."

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