Auburn's Jonathan Jones is there to make the play
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. ― Auburn's football season has hit a few detours, but Jonathan Jones says the Tigers haven't lost their resolve.
"We do have two losses, but there's a lot of football left to be played," says the senior defensive back. "We definitely still think we have a chance, and we still come out with that same mentality every day."
Auburn, 3-2, has had open date this weekend, but the Tigers haven't been off. They've been studying most everything, opening up position battles and preparing for Thursday night's game at Kentucky.
Jones says the team chemistry is good. "You can just feel it in practice," he says. "Practice is still live and everyone is jumping around and excited. Any time you have energy, that's the main point. People want to bring energy to practice and come out and play."
Jones says "you always look to the older guys" to lead.
"That's the first place it has to start with. People who have been there and done that before. They have to step up," he said. "There are a lot of guys who have been here and experienced the good and the bad and can lead them in the right direction.
"Coach Malzahn definitely does a good job of leaving the leadership up to the seniors. He challenges you to take control of your specific group."
Gus Malzahn suggested this week that all the position battles are open, including quarterback. Jones says that's a daily occurrence on defense.
"Every day is competition," he said. "Your job is up for grabs every day. Every day you come out you're getting evaluated. We have our production and you can see how you're contributing, so that's every day you're up for evaluation.”
Open competition means freshmen can start, and they have next to Jones in the secondary. Tim Irvin, Jeremiah Dinson and Carlton Davis have all gotten the call.
"They're growing, all of them," Jones said. "They've had some learning curves, some stumbles along the road. But they're growing and learning each week. The key thing in football is not to keep making the same mistakes, so they're learning from their mistakes and being able to contribute. We need them and we're going to continue to need them."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine