Jonathan Jones was front and center for Auburn at SEC Media Days
By Charles Goldberg
Jonathan Jones, he of preseason recognition this season, he of six interceptions last season, could have focused on his play, of his teammates in the secondary.
Jonathan Jones, Auburn football player, spoke of the bigger picture when he talked of the Tigers' new-look defense at SEC Media Days in Hoover this week.
Like new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp…
"He has high demands for us, and if we don't meet those demands, you're not going to play. He holds you accountable."
And like the return of lineman Carl Lawson, who missed last season with an injury…
"Football is won up front. Last year we didn't have too much of a pass rush after losing him. It's going to be a big help getting him back."
Jones' didn't make a big deal out of his contributions, but his presence is remembered. Coach Gus Malzahn reminded the SEC media that Jones was "our defensive MVP last year."
"He had a lot of impact plays. He's an outstanding young man on and off the field."
Auburn selected him to be one of its three player representatives at Media Days, and he's landed on the watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Award, which goes to the nation's top defensive player; the Jim Thorpe Award, which goes to the top defensive back; and the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which goes to the player who saw quality performance and character.
Jones, who missed spring practice after undergoing foot surgery, was asked Monday what it would mean if won the Thorpe Award.
"It would mean a lot, but my main goal is to do what I have to do for this team," he said. "Individually, the accolades will come later if I perform the way I should."
Muschamp will demand nothing less, and reminds the players so.
"He shows your production," Jones said. "That's something different than we've done in the past. He can basically show you what you're doing and what you're not doing."
That's anything from practice stats to hustle.
"If you need to get better, he's going to tell you. If you're doing well, he's going to tell you," Jones said.
"Anytime you get a chance to play under a guy who has connections that he has, you're looking forward to it."
Especially after last season when the season turned in the second half of the year.
"I feel like we lost confidence," Jones said. "We have to be able to maintain that confidence and handle adversity better this year."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine