Meet new defensive line coach Eddie Jones Jr.
By Bailey Rae Poer —
Texan TV Associate Producer
Coach Eddie Jones Jr. is one of the newest faces on the Tarleton State University Texan football team. From Kilgore, Jones was considered one of the nation’s best defensive linemen coming out of high school. Jones continued his football career at the University of Texas as a defensive end. During his time at Texas, he helped the Longhorns to the 2009 Bowl Championship Series National Championship game where he earned All-Big 12 honors. While at Texas, he recorded 110 tackles, 24 of which were for a loss. After Texas, Jones spent time in the NFL with both the New York Jets and St. Louis Rams.
Jones began his coaching career at Hyde Park Baptist High School in Austin, according to tarletonsports.com. There he spent one season coaching the defensive and offensive lines along with special teams.
The following season Jones moved to Blinn College in Brenham. Considered a powerhouse by many, Jones helped the Buccaneers to win 23 games over the last four years. With Jones as the co-defensive coordinator last season, the Buccaneers defense led the nation in sacks with 55 with Jones’ defensive line accounting for 42 of those.
Jones never dreamed that he would end up with a coaching career, but after being released by the Jets in 2011, he ventured back to his high school where he spent time volunteering and doing some student coaching. He began to fall in love with the kids and coaching, finding it something he grew to love and a great way to give back.
Jones feels his greatest accomplishment, in his career so far, was being able to scout players at the junior college level, get them to come in and understand the importance of academics and send them on to Division I programs to see them graduate.
The opportunity to give back is a large part of Jones’ passion behind coaching. “I like to be that role model, that father figure, that spiritual (example) for the kids, and just be able to help them grow spiritually each and every day,” Jones said.
Jones’ care for his players is apparent. Regarding what he hoped to bring to the team, he simply replied, “I want to be someone who truly cares about the kids and their well-being well after football. Often times these kids get so tied into the game and just wins and losses, but I’m more concerned with how they become better fathers, brothers, and teammates.”
“If I can give the players more tools in their toolbox to become better football players and help them become better off the field and in the classroom then I feel I’ve done my part,” Jones added.
The position at Tarleton was one that caught Jones’ eye when it became available. After doing some background research, and seeing the great coaching staff, along with the winning culture that was being built here at TSU, Jones became very interested.
The transition to Tarleton has been a smooth one for Jones.
“It’s always an easy transition when you’re welcomed to a family with open arms and given every resource to be successful. The kids are open to new learning and are welcoming as well,” he said.
The target that will be on the back of the Texans as reigning Lonestar Conference Champions should be no surprise to anyone, and this is something that Jones feels excited about as the Texans move into the 2019 season.
“You have to rebuild with new players, new coaches, and strive to stay on the same successful track. Just looking at that and going out and competing each day in the off season, and then going into fall camp and translating that all over to the fall is something I am looking forward to,” Jones said.
“Relentless effort is something that a lot of players defensive line-wise are made with,” said Jones. When looking at the recruiting class, Jones feels that the Texans scored some great guys with “good hips, good hands and high motors” that will make this possible.
Brotherhood is another important part of the game to Jones. “It’s not so much about you; it’s how can you lift your brother, the guy beside you, to become better off the field and on the field,” Jones said. That along with the incredible sack record his defensive line had at Blinn are things that Jones hopes to incorporate at Tarleton.
“I just want to see if I can take the defensive line to the top and be able to be in those top categories in sacks and tackles for loss.” The point of attack is a component that Jones wants to help the Texans improve on this season by emphasizing resetting the line of scrimmage, hand placement, and recognizing how to defeat the offensive linemen with a physical approach.
Jones feels that academics is something that directly correlates to success on the field. “If you can get players to understand to take care of their academics, football becomes easy. They’ve been playing since they were probably 5 or 6 years old, but if they can get up on Monday morning and go to class and utilize their resources in their tutoring then the rest comes easy,” Jones said.
The culture that the Texans already embody is one that Jones feels he can help the team to build off of in the next season- winning one day at a time in the weight room, through strength and conditioning and seeing students succeed academically.
Head coach Todd Whitten told tarletonsports.com: “I couldn’t be more excited to bring Coach Jones to our staff. I think he’s going to be a really good fit with our staff, our players, and our program.”
The Texans transitioned into spring training this week. The opener for the Texans will be Sept. 7 at Stephen F. Austin State University.