Jones hopes to repeat history

Published 7:13 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Troy sophomore Marcus Jones entered last season’s game against Coastal Carolina relatively unknown. By game’s end, the then-freshman turned himself into a household name for the Men of Troy.

Jones tied an NCAA record in Troy’s 42-17 win over the Chanticleers when he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, becoming just the 24th player to do so. His first came when he returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a score. His second came later on an 87-yard return.

“I remember coach emphasizing kickoff returns a lot that week,” Jones said. “He said we can get a big one. After the first one, coach was like, ‘I told y’all.’ When they scored again, he said, ‘Come on, you can do it again.’ And it happened again. He gave us a gameplan to where we were prepared for it.”

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When the Trojans take on the Chanticleers this Saturday inside Veterans Memorial Stadium, the question will be whether Coastal Carolina kick to sophomore playmaker. Head Coach Neal Brown may have the answer.

“If they watch us block, they are not going to be real threatened,” Brown said. “We haven’t blocked very well in kickoff return. We hit them last year. They made some changes in their kickoff team. Our kickoff return unit isn’t going to scare anybody through the first four weeks.”

Jones has returned 12 kicks this season and has averaged 20.3 yards.

“I feel like they’re still going to kick it to me,” Jones said. “If they do, we’re going to have the right scheme. Whenever we do have the right scheme, and everybody does what they’re supposed to do, it’s going to be a big play.”

Even though the big play has not been there this season, Jones believes they are on the verge of figuring it out.

“To be honest, people are flying down there,” Jones said. “We’re going to get it fixed. I don’t really know. I can’t really tell you right now. If I’m running 100 mph through the line, I just see different colored jerseys, but we’re going to get it right.”

Jones is making plays not only in special teams, but on defense as well. With the game still in doubt last Saturday against Louisiana Monroe, Jones picked off a Warhawk pass to put the game away in Troy’s favor.

“They ran trips. On that specific package, I was at safety, so they threw it over there toward Terrance’s side,” Jones said. “I saw him, right when he hiked the ball, I saw a receiver trying to do all the moves off the line. I went over there, saw the ball and made a play.”

Jones is a versatile player for the Trojans. At times, Jones will play three different positons including cornerback.

“I think where he separates himself from other people is his football intelligence,” Brown said. “He basically plays three different positions for us in a game. He’ll play what we call a spear. He’ll replace the will linebacker and he plays corner. His football intellect is really high. He makes competitive plays on the ball.

He is one of the hardest workers on the team. He’s one of the most consistent practice players. That all culminates with him playing at a high level on Saturdays.”

Jones and the Trojans will take on the Chanticleers this Saturday beginning at 2:30 p.m.