3:38 AM EDT, October 12, 2010
Wow, what a difference a year makes. Currently for Orlando East River quarterback Josh Jones it means 10 interceptions, so far. In leading the surprising East River Falcons to a 5-0 record, Jones has thrown just one interception. Last year, he threw 11 and had just seven TD passes.
There were numerous camps and combines in Florida this past spring and summer. You name it, Josh Jones was there. He was at the Elite 11 Quarterback Challenge on Valentine's Day, the Nike Football Training Camp in Gainesville April 19, the NUC at Jones High, the South Daytona Beach Scout.com combine, went to an NC State team camp, Under Armour combine at Disney … OK, you get the picture.
The lanky 6-foot-6, 170-pounder wanted to be the starting QB his senior year. There was possible underclass competition coming from Arnold Lusby. He needed to be ready.
"Hard work pays off and it's a great feeling, especially after throwing 11 last year," Jones said of his newfound ability to make better decisions. "I love the game so I'm just enjoying it more and I'm confident that my O-line will do work and I guess after last year I'm just not afraid to get hit."
Last year, he got hit a lot, and the Falcons, in their debut season, were just 1-9.
This year, with big men like 6-foot-9, 363-pound junior Adam Duckett, junior Micah Cross (6-1, 285), junior Ivan Rios (6-5, 285), sophomore Jacob Bear (5-10, 265), and the lone senior Andre Moralis (6-2, 250), there is no need for fear.
"We have come together very well," Jones said of the Falcons, who are in just their second year of existence and finally had the benefit of a spring season this year. "I've never seen a team that has wanted to work so hard for this. Last year was rough, but everyone who played last year wanted to do good and win. It was the little things that we weren't doing and now that we realize we can be good. We're doing the little things right."
Falcons new coach Mark Rankin is mixing the run with the pass in a way that helps Jones be successful. He picks his spots for passing plays and it has paid dividends in the turnover department. Jones has thrown for 463 yards and four TDs. He has been efficient, even if he's still under 50 percent for completions.
He won't throw an interception this week either. The Falcons are idle.
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