My interview with Butch Jones, part II

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Two weeks ago, I was invited into Butch Jones' office for a little question and answer session. I hadn't met Jones yet, so I was interested to see him in his new digs, how he was adjusting to his new job and how he would answer my questions. Here's part II of III of my interview. In case you missed part I, click on this link.

Part II begins here:


Josh Katzowitz: Not many people have talked about this, but what kind of defense do you run?


Butch Jones: First of all, we'll be real multiple with a four-down and three-down front. We'll be very, very aggressive, but we're going to be fundamentally sound. We'll be a great, great tackling team. We'll pride ourselves on playing with great fundamentals, not only on defense but on the other phases as well.


JK: Obviously, they went from a 4-3 with Joe Tresey to a 3-4 with Bob Diaco last year. Is it a hybrid of that for you, or is it a wholesale change?


BJ: It's not a wholesale change. It'll be a hybrid. We'll do some things with a standup defensive end and also have him down in a three-point. It's probably a combination of both defenses.


JK: What do you like about that defense?


BK: It becomes real multiple. You're able to disguise coverages. You're able to be sound in the run game and the throw game. It allows you to bring pressure from the field and from the boundary. It allows you to be multiple yet maintain some simplicity as well.


JK: It's interesting with these offensive head coaches who run spread and what their defensive philosophy is, because that defense has to go against the offense every day in practice. I wonder if they're always thinking about how they would stop their own offense. I know Brian thought the 3-4 was right because it could stop what he was doing.


BJ: Obviously, you look first and foremost at the offenses in the Big East and what you're going to have to be defending against. That's the first thing. When your defense is going against your offense, it's imperative you're able to have the schemes in place that they're going to be seeing on a week-to-week basis in the Big East conference. A lot of people tend to think of spread offense as four and five receivers all the time and throwing the ball around and the term "finesse" comes out. We're far from being a finesse offense. We'll play with a fullback; we'll play with a tight end. We'll be in multiple personnel groupings. You need that - you need to take pride in being a physical football team. In order to be a physical football team, your defense has to see a physical style of football from your offense day in and day out.


JK: You'll play with a fullback, huh? We haven't seen that here in a while.


BJ: Yeah. Well, it's a fullback/h-back, which is a little different. It's not 21 personnel and getting high formation. I'm talking about doing different things with the tight end off the ball and moving him around - more of an H-back type.


JK: Because you were in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl and because it was such a blowout loss, do you worry about losing any kind of momentum from a fan's standpoint? There was so much hype going into that game and then the team kind of fell flat. Do you worry about that?


BK: No, I think part of being great fans is the term "loyalty." Fans have great loyalty to our program and our football players. We have great tradition. You couldn't help but see the excitement in New Orleans. The fan support was incredible. I don't think we lost any momentum at all. What it's done is been a renewed spirit and renewed energy level for our players and propelling us into our offseason strength and conditioning program. It was a very special season. Any time you go undefeated, that's legacy. I don't think there's been any momentum lost at all. It's refocused our players. They now understand what it takes to play on a national stage and the things that are associated with those types of games. I don't think there's been any momentum lost at all.


JK: How much do you have to do with fans because the coaching transition, at least at the beginning, was ... well, frankly, it pissed a lot of people off. I wonder if there's something you need to do to mend fences. What are your thoughts on that?


BJ: Well, I'm going to be extremely visible as the head football coach at the University of Cincinnati. I'm going to get into the community. They're going to know me, they're going to know my family. They're going to see mine and my staff's passion for UC, for Cincinnati in general. You can't hide that passion. They'll see that passion portrayed out on the football field with our football teams. We have great fans here, very passionate fans. I'm very excited to be a part of that process. There will be a process that goes along with it. People here have been outstanding. Everybody told me that we were moving to a great community. I've seen that. People have gone out of their way to say hello and welcome us to the area. You can see that passion. You go back to the Sugar Bowl. That was an unbelievable scene. It led me to believe that UC football is very important to the people.


JK: I'm not from Cincinnati, but moving here and working for the Post and seeing it from an objective point of a view, I've seen that if you're not winning, people don't really care about the team. Even the Bengals this year, for the playoff game, it didn't sell out and there was nobody in the tailgating lots 2 ½ hours before the game. It's great for you that you had 25,000 people that went down to New Orleans. But I wonder how difficult it is to maintain that enthusiasm. 


BJ: I wouldn't say we're going to maintain that enthusiasm; we're going to build off the enthusiasm. We're going to make that even better. I expect season tickets to increase. I expect it to be even harder to get into Nippert Stadium than it's ever been. I think of building upon it and building upon what has been established here and taking it to even greater levels.


JK: Do you do that by being out in the community?


It's a number of things. We talk about being a family and developing pride and "Representing the C." But first of all, it's our players representing extremely well, our players being visible and our coaches being out there. Our student body, our fans, our alumni, they see us as one of them as we are in this thing together. It's the way we'll perform on the field and all the little things. They will know us. It does become a pride thing. It does become a pride for great support. I think you just continue to build upon that.


(To be continued later this week) ...









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