G-gun ready to fire bullets for Vols
Posted: Thursday, September 25, 2008 7:10 pm
By: BY BETH RUCKER, Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Gerald Jones is tired of being grounded.
The Tennessee wide receiver who moonlights as a quarterback in what’s called the “G-gun” package said he must attempt some passes behind center rather than just handing the ball off or tucking and running if he’s going to keep opposing defenses honest.
He’s hoping his first pass attempt of the season comes Saturday when Tennessee (1-2, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) faces No. 15 Auburn (3-1, 1-1).
“A lot of people are going to be expecting the run, so I wouldn’t be surprised if come Auburn we do run it and I might be throwing it,” he said. “There’s so many things we can do out of that package that we haven’t brought out yet.”
Even though the Vols offense has shown it can put together long drives, players have struggled with drive-killing mistakes. A few long passes down the field from Jones could help minimize those problems.
The sophomore figured to play a large role this season in first-year offensive coordinator Dave Clawson’s offense which focuses on getting the ball to the best and most versatile athletes.
“We have more out of it. We feel Gerald Jones is one of our best playmakers, and the G-gun package is there in part to ensure that he has his hands on the football,” Clawson said.
Jones was the Gatorade player of the year in 2006 in Oklahoma as a quarterback and defensive player at Millwood High School, but was recruited as a receiver or cornerback.
Last year as a true freshman, he earned playing time while surrounded by a crowded field of talented receivers and had crucial touchdown and first-down catches in overtime in a 52-50 win over Kentucky.
But he generated buzz at quarterback, taking eight snaps from center. He rushed for 58 yards for a 7.2 yard average and two touchdowns.
This season, he’s taken nine snaps — three against UCLA and six against Florida — and the Vols are averaging 9 yards for every snap Jones has taken.
The Gators defense had a hunch what was coming during one G-gun play in the second quarter when Jones kept the ball and linebacker Ryan Stamper tackled him in the backfield for a loss of a yard.
“I actually thought we were going to pass the ball, because toward the end you saw Florida just really biting on the run. That’s all it was going to be,” he said. “I felt like if we would have snuck somebody out the back and let me throw it … but we didn’t.”
If there was any question about whether Jones can still throw the ball, he tried to put that to rest during Tennessee’s spring Orange and White scrimmage when he threw a 17-yard TD pass to Denarius Moore.
“I can throw a football,” he said. “I think I proved it in the spring game. I know this is not high school, but I did a pretty good job in high school.”
Clawson said he’s been adding to the G-gun package as Jones absorbs more and more of the offense.
But he’s not quite ready to concede to Auburn that he’ll use Jones to pass.
“Oh, maybe,” Clawson said with a smile.