After overcoming an ACL injury Marcus Jones is still one of the fastest players on the team.
GopherSports: Marcus, what does being a Gopher mean to you?
Marcus Jones: Being a Gopher to me means being uncommon. I think that has kind of become what Minnesota is. We are trying to build a program and it is an exciting time to be a part of it. You feel like you are the change that is about to happen. So for me, it is really special to become a part of it and trying to become a leader on the team. For me it is such a great time to be part of Gopher football. Whether you are playing or not it is just a great time to be around it.
GS: You talk about being uncommon and you are pretty uncommon yourself. Not many people would be back 100 percent from the ACL injury you suffered last year. How did you deal with that?
MJ: My ACL injury was a tough injury to deal with and it came during a tough time in the season. The rehab was tough. It was a challenge every time I walked into the training room. You are not quite sure what you are doing every day and you wonder if you are going to get any stronger from the day before. It is definitely a fight, but our trainers Ed Lochrie and Chris Ashton did a great job. They had me in there twice a day and made sure I did every rep right. That became a big part of why I was able to come back so fast. We did not waste time. Everything was efficient and everything had a purpose to it.
GS: How would you describe coach Kill?
MJ: I would describe him as hard nose. The reason for that is because that is what everyone sees. They see the hard-nose coach. He is the old-school coach who demands respect and gives that respect back. But inside the office he is a totally different guy. When it is away from football, he is the nicest guy you have ever met. He is fun to be around and tells a lot of jokes. There are two sides to coach Kill. There is the football side and there is the family side. I have seen both and I think he brings both sides out when necessary.
GS: There is a lot of talk about whom the fastest player on the team is, but who do you think it is?
MJ: I am taking Keanon Cooper every day of the week. He is the fastest guy on the team.
GS: Where do you rank?
MJ: I would say I am top three or top five. I am definitely in there. We have some fast guys. With the addition of some guys last spring, like Martez Shabazz and others, it added some new challengers. Shabazz is pretty fast and we already have some fast guys in Steve Montgomery, Troy Stoudermire, Keanon Cooper, MarQueis Gray and myself. We can put some fast guys on the field, so it is exciting when we get to talking and then start racing.
GS: If you played defense, what position would you play?
MJ: I would play cornerback. I played cornerback in high school, so if I had to get moved to defense that is what I would play.
GS: You ever miss hitting somebody?
MJ: All the time. That was my favorite part about defense. Hitting people is the best part about defense. There are times I think about it. There are times when I am blocking that I just want to run at somebody and take a shot at them, but I would probably miss so I do not waste my time.
GS: Why do you wear No. 15?
MJ: It is the number my brother wore in high school. When I got here I originally had No. 8, but I did not like it so I changed to 15. I grew into it and like it. It has a little more meaning for me.
GS: What is the best part about playing at TCF Bank Stadium?
MJ: The best part is that feeling you get when you walk into that stadium every Saturday. No matter what happened last Saturday or what they think is going to happen that Saturday, it is like an electric feeling. You walk out there and the fans are so excited to be there. It is different than playing in any other stadium. I have only been here a year and played in some pretty good stadiums last year, but nothing has the feeling like TCF Bank Stadium. There is something about walking through that tunnel and hearing the fans screaming right on top of you that makes TCF Bank Stadium so special.
GS: Coming back from injury, what are your goals this year?
MJ: My goals are to fulfill my role on the team and exceed that goal. If they want me to be the No. 1 receiver then I will be the No. 1 receiver. If they want me to strictly block, then I will strictly block. But coming back from the injury, I am just excited to be back and enjoying every day. At the same time I understand I have a job to do and have to attack whatever it is they want me to do. Last year, the receiving corps was not the strongest group on the team. Our goal as receivers this year is to be the strongest group on the field.
GS: There are a lot of trophy games here at Minnesota. What trophy do you want to win the most?
MJ: The trophy I want to win the most is the Axe, but probably for a different reason than a lot of guys because I am not from Minnesota. But I was not able to play in the Wisconsin game last year and had to watch it and watch how they celebrated. So there is still a fire burning in there for Wisconsin.
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