The Sunday Sampler 2011 – Miami

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Perry Jones

There’s an old saying about “keeping up with the Joneses” where the gist is the desire to match your neighbors’ success. For the Virginia football team, the meaning is much more positive. After all, it’s good for anyone in the program to try to keep up with junior captain Perry Jones . From his work ethic to his leadership to his on-field abilities, the Hoos are better because he’s wearing orange and blue.

Virginia coach Mike London repeatedly notes how hard Jones works. He talks about Jones being alone on the practice fields in the summer, his drive in the weight room, and his motivation to improve. London says those things rub off on the other Cavaliers too where eventually Jones no longer puts in work alone because his teammates want to match the effort.

There’s also the intangible quality of chemistry. In short, Jones is a likeable guy and a galvanizing force on a football team. When he does well, it lifts everyone else. When someone else does well, Jones lifts everyone else with his attitude.

“If you talk with Perry, he’s kind of a quiet guy. He lets his play do the talking. … He’s the heart and soul of the team,” London said. “The team just feeds off of his playmaking ability. When you’re watching him on the sideline and you’re watching him make runs, cuts, and catches, you just marvel at his ability. So he’s not a rah-rah guy, but he definitely leads with his example.”

Oh yeah, he’s a pretty good football player too. That was on full display again Thursday night in the 28-21 win over Miami. Jones had 12 carries for 67 yards, an average of 5.6 yards per carry. He had 1 reception for 78 yards and a touchdown that provided the game-winning margin. Plus, he threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Tim Smith on a halfback option pass (more on that momentarily).

For the season, Jones has recorded 643 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns on 125 carries. That’s good enough for 5.1