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I'm not sure you can get a black t-shirt with the dates printed on it, but the "Butch Jones Summer 2011 Tour" is underway and coming to a venue near you.

It began June 1 at City Barbecue in Westwood with the Bearcat Caravan and women's basketball coach Jamelle Elliott. The UC Coaches Caravan will continue June 8 at City Barbecue in West Chester, June 15 at City Barbecue in Hyde Park, June 22 at City Barbecue in Eastgate and June 29 at a City Barbecue to be announced.

Wherever it is, I recommend the pulled North Carolina pork, sweet sauce, vinegar slaw, hush puppies and corn pudding. They have many beverages, but it's tough to go wrong with a sweet tea (something Bearcat receiver D.J. Woods can attest to).

Since one of my sons had a baseball game within decent proximity of the June 1 stop,I decided to intercept the evening's headliner in the parking lot. Jones is enjoying the golf shirt weather and the chance to see the public in various informal settings.

"It's great obviously to get out and about and see our great fans and talk Bearcat football," Jones said. "It won't be long and it'll be football season."

In some sick way, you know there's a "countdown to Higher Ground" clock somewhere in the bowels of the Lindner Center football office. The staff takes a week off in July, but by the first of August it's all business, all the time.

June is the month the Bearcats hit some outdoor events and take a peek at future talent.

"We'll welcome about 300 prospective student athletes with our miscellaneous camps and unofficial visits to campus with recruiting,"Jones said.

And, UC's new recruits will be in soon.

"Actually, they show up in June," Jones said. "I'm excited to see what this freshman class brings to the table. With Jameel Poteat, Akise Teague coming in,our six defensive linemen, Trenier Orr, I'm excited."

The six incoming defensive linemen are Chad West of Perry, Ohio, Brandon Mitchell of Withrow, Chad Hannah of Tampa, Florida, Carroll Phillips of Miami, Florida and Demetrius Alston and Silverberry Mouhon of Norcross, Georgia.

Orr, is a defensive back from Ocoee, Florida and Poteat and Teague are running backs. Poteat was the No. 15 running back out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Teague was Ohio's Mr. Football for Division V out of Youngstown Ursuline.

Might these new backs play?

"You can never have enough running backs, it's a position of durability," Jones said. "Each individual develops differently at their own pace."

One way to develop talent is through repetition and Jones has cooked up a scheme to run double workouts during the upcoming preseason to get some extra looks at players.

It hasn't been finalized, but Jones appears sold on it.

"We've been researching it," Jones said. "The big thing for us is reps. With the number two quarterback up for grabs and us getting some freshmen ready at receiver and other spots, maximum reps is the key."

Assisting the Bearcats in this process, will be former UC defensive back Mike Mickens who accompanied Coach Jones to his first City Barbecue event.
mike mickens.jpeg

"We're excited to have him," Jones said. "He brings so much to the table. He has instant respect with the defensive backs having played the position and played in the National Football League. Beyond that,he's a Bearcat. He understands what it means to where the C-Paw everyday."

The UC opener is a mere three months away on September 3 at Nippert against Austin Peay.

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