Georgia’s ‘Big John’ Jenkins dealing with the heat of expectations

ATHENS – Reporters covering UGA talked to freshmen and first-year defensive players for the first time this morning. I think I may have interviewed a half-dozen in all. I will be slowly rolling them out here as I get around to transcribing them and writing them up.

Let’s see, there was Ray Drew, Damian Swann, Corey Moore, Amarlo Herrera, Chris Sanders, Quintavious Harrow.  Oh yeah, and some big guy named “Jenkins.”

Below is a little taste of my interview with junior college transfer nose guard Jonathan “Big John” Jenkins. Jenkins said he’s down to 342 pounds after first reporting to UGA at 357. This is not the whole interview, just part to get you started. I’ll add the rest as soon as I can get it down in print for you.

Now, here’s Big John:

Are you able to handle the heat better since falling out that first practice?

“Yes sir. Coach Richt and the rest of the guys believe in me and they feel like I’m capable of doing to job they’re asking me to do. To be honest with you, when I fell out, the heat got to me. But I had enough time to gather my thoughts and I felt like I let those guys down that day. I don’t want to be that guy to let my teammates down. . . . It’s been better. I’m taking the reps I need to take since then. These guys believe in me and I don’t want to let them down no matter what the situation is.”

Are you surprised you’re working with the second team?

“No, it doesn’t surprise me. You’ve got to think about it, Kwame [Geathers] has been here for a while. I’m still learning. This is a harder defense than junior college. There’s a lot of things to be accoluntable for. They want to make sure I’m able to handle that pressure. With Kwame being ahead of me, I’m learning from the all guys in front of me. And it gives me a chance to go against Ben Jones and the first-string offensive line. Ben Jones is a heckuva player. Everytime he beats me on a play, I get angry and want to fight back. But I also ask him what I did wrong, because he’s been playing SEC football for a while and I’m learning from him. I’m learning from every experience.

“I didn’t come here with any expectations. I’m came in here just thinking I’m going to learn. With that type of mindset, nothing can surprise you.”

Are you getting signs or feedback that tells you you’re going to be an impact player?

“As long as I keep working and Ben Jones keeps coaching me and the offensive keeps coming at me like they’re doing, I believe when my times comes I’m gonna be ready to go.”

Is it harder than you thought?

“It’s been like that. I’ve been looking at is as a challenge. It’s the Southeastern Conference. You can’t take anything for granted down here. It’s the best of the best down here. I didn’t think I was going to come in here and dominate. No-o-o-o-o. I just came in thinking, ‘this is not junior college. I’m not going to dominate like I did before and I gotta work.’ It’s just that simple.”

What must you improve on?

One thing that holds me bnack is the playbook. Trying to get used to the system, that holds me back. Once I learn what to do, I’m able to react to the situation. As the days go on, I’m studying, I’m studying, I’m studying. This is camp. As I get acclimated to it I’m going to be able to go faster and go harder every snap. The heat and all that, I’m trying to do it all right. I’m trying to do everything right.”

How are you doing on learning the playbook?

“I’m getting comfortable with it. I’ve got no choice, no choice. I’m got to get comfortable with it.”

How much are you weighing these days?

I’m like 342, 343. I came in at like 357 during the summer. But I was always able to run. When I came in everybody always made the assumption that I wasn’t going to be able to run. I went out there right away and started doing 220s and conditioning drills and was getting through them.”

What do you want to play at?

“It really doesn’t matter, as long as I play dominant and keep my pads low and do my job, it doesn’t matter.”

Have you been working with UGA’s new noutritionists?

“Oh yeah. That’s helping me beat the heat. Getting the right foods in me and getting the right energy and stuff like that is helping me a lot. They’ve got me eating a lot of carbs, a lot of complex carbs, so I can build the energy for the next day. And I’m drinking a lot of fluids, a lot of fluids.”

Did they ever get the new No. 6 jerseys for you?

“They’re ordering that right now. It’s in the process.”

Have they talked about you doing anything on offense at all, fullback or something?

“I haven’t been working on going down that road yet because I’ve got to work on doing my job and my job is playing on teh defensive line. As soon as I get every thing situated with that, maybe some time down the road. Who knows? That’s Coach Richt’s job.”

What have you been doing around town?

“I try to stay low [key], try to chill with the fellas. I try to go out here and there but not too much. I try to stay away from things mostly. I’ve been recognized a couple of times. But you know where you can go and expect certain things, so I stay away from them. I want to stay focused. I don’t want anything to draw from my focus.”

What kind of shape are you in?

Coach T got us right, you know what I mean?. I’d never [benched] more than 500 [pounds] and, with the help of Ben Jones I got 535. I’ve gotten 515 and 525 on my own. I’ve been running a lot and just getting right. Coach T and the strength and conditioning program is getting us right.”

Have you bonded with fellow Northeasterner Arthur Lynch?

“Oh yeah, Artie’s my guy. We’re talking about going on break with each other and go to each other’s home towns. We’re like an hour and a half away.”

What do you feel you need to work on most?

“Man, I need to work on my double-team. I want to put more effort into it. My strike, pass rush, everything. Just my whole game in general, I need to work on. I’m not perfect. I’ve just got to keep working.”

What’s biggest difference in UGA and Miss. Gulfcoast CC?

“There’s no such thing as 2s and 3s here. No such thing. Everybody’s good here. Playing at Gulf Coast, you have the guys who came out of high school highly rated and those guys that have been in the program for a little whiel and you see the difference. Here, there’s no such thing. Everybody’s good. They’re coming at you. If you don’t have your head on right, it’s over with.”

What’s it like working with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham?

“Man, Coach G, these guys are smart. They know the game. I try to soak up everything I can. He has a plan for all of us. He wants all of us to make plays and he’s a smart guy, so we’re all listening to him.”

Are you tight with Kwame Geathers?

“Oh, yeah, the whole D-line. We’re the boys. We’re the boys.”

152 comments Add your comment

nasty dog

August 11th, 2011
12:45 pm

nasty dog

August 11th, 2011
12:45 pm

3rd

August 11th, 2011
12:46 pm

Enter your comments here

nasty dog

August 11th, 2011
12:46 pm

Big John Jenkins is going to be a force. Go Dogs

maconbulldog

August 11th, 2011
12:48 pm

FFirst! Get work on big Jon

Let's go to the Dome

August 11th, 2011
12:49 pm

Cannot wait to see Big John and the ‘11 D Dawgs in BOYz States Face!
Any of you DAWG fans in the Woodstock area who would like to shuttle to OUR HOUSE,the GA DOME…check out the bus that will get you there and back safely…go to ECONORIDES.com

GATA

suwaneedawg

August 11th, 2011
12:49 pm

Bronze Medal

Sounds like Big John might have a ways to go yet. I will bet by the SC game this guy will be the plugger we need in the middle.

Trojan

August 11th, 2011
12:49 pm

Go Big John. Coming to UGA is going to be great for you and for UGA.

maconbulldog

August 11th, 2011
12:51 pm

Well 4th darn. We’ll Big John seems like he has a good head on him.doesn’t like troubled. I hear he is faster than Mnt.Cody

DawgByte

August 11th, 2011
12:51 pm

I like John’s attitude. He’ll be fine!

Frank Lane

August 11th, 2011
12:54 pm

Wasn’t it hot at Miss Gulf Coast? One would think that it would be worse than Athens.

chilidawg

August 11th, 2011
12:54 pm

Give him the rock!

honest_abe

August 11th, 2011
12:56 pm

big jj!!! get emmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 11th, 2011
12:57 pm

Like the middle of the defense. Jenkins and Geathers. Nice tandem. Chip, I wonder if Kwame ever talked to Jumpy about the Forklift manuever Jumpy made famous with the Skins and the Falcons?

robodawg

August 11th, 2011
1:01 pm

Love what he says about our team: “Everybody’s good. They’re coming at you. If you don’t have your head on right, it’s over with.”

JYD

August 11th, 2011
1:12 pm

71 Dawg

August 11th, 2011
1:12 pm

This is the type of young man we need on our team – go Jon and Go Dawgs! GATA!

71 Dawg

August 11th, 2011
1:13 pm

Enter your comments here

JB

August 11th, 2011
1:20 pm

I hope he’s good. I’ll take 75% of what Cody was for Bama at this point.

MattStorm

August 11th, 2011
1:21 pm

He reminds me of “me” Matt Storm from Walla Walla Washington.

Red Clay Hound

August 11th, 2011
1:25 pm

Good stuff!!! Keep at with Ben Jones. He’ll make you better everyday.

Spanky

August 11th, 2011
1:25 pm

….and THAT, my friends, is the attitude and mindset that is needed! He and Jarvis will bring back that Junkyard toughness that we’ve all sorely missed! Erk would be proud!

Columbus

August 11th, 2011
1:29 pm

Great attitude. He is going to do VERY well and just get better and better over the course of the season.

Destin Dawg

August 11th, 2011
1:30 pm

so move big Mike Thornton to O line…

Chris

August 11th, 2011
1:30 pm

He benches 535?????? HOLY CRAP!!!!!! AND HE RUNS A 4.9. He sounds like he is working hard and once he gets used to the system he will be a BEAST!!!! GO DAWGS!!!!

JDawg1785

August 11th, 2011
1:32 pm

Sounds like a perfect addition to the team- humble kid with a monstrous work ethic to go with that size. Good luck, Big John!

trupert

August 11th, 2011
1:32 pm

It’s a good thing that Ga has Ben Jones on hand to show Jenkins what the SEC is all about. Jenkins will be a great player in Ga’s 1-2 punch at the Nose position.

Everything that these players are saying shows that they believe in the program and the new direction. I really like Jenkins attitude.

So much for those wanting to hear that Crowell and Jenkins would come in like prima donna’s.

Look out Kellen Moore and Boise St, the Junk Yard Dawgs are coming.

BDubs

August 11th, 2011
1:33 pm

Good to read about his work with Ben Jones. That’s the kind of stuff that’s going to make this a better TEAM, which is exactly what we need.

Just wondering

August 11th, 2011
1:36 pm

Wonder if they have him running with the 2nd team so he can go against Ben Jones everyday? JJ and KG sounds like a nice set of NTs for the 3-4 this year.

JDawg1785

August 11th, 2011
1:53 pm

By the way, Chip, I haven’t heard much about Kwame so far. How’s he doing?

I-DOG

August 11th, 2011
1:55 pm

Ahhhh Matt Storm, I remember that one well. We desperately needed help on the D line in the begining of the Goff era. Lets just say that he tried hard, but was never able to adjust to SEC caliber football from JUCO and coming from Western Washington, he wasn’t familiar with humidiy over 30%.

I doubt seriously that Matt Storm ever dreamed of benching 515 pounds. Maybe 375.

UGA Alumnus

August 11th, 2011
2:05 pm

“Everybody’s good. They’re coming at you. If you don’t have your head on right, it’s over with.”

Go Dawgs!

Utah Dawg

August 11th, 2011
2:07 pm

Do they not have spell check at the AJC? Nice editing.

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

August 11th, 2011
2:09 pm

We all know it can get hot and muggy on the Miss Gulf Coast, so why is the Athens climate bothering him? Unless he arrived in poor shape and not eating properly…

Hollywould

August 11th, 2011
2:12 pm

Hmmm? Ben Jones teaching him how he stopped Fairley last year? Never mind War Eagle

FayetteDawg

August 11th, 2011
2:13 pm

Yeah, I imagine they have JJ running against Ben Jones everyday to help accelerate his learning process and to get him over the learning curve as fast possible. Love his attitude and what seems to be the same note we keep hearing from these guys–team. Ready fo Sept. 3rd.

Kerryb

August 11th, 2011
2:21 pm

Any Auburn fans need to go away now. You need to worry more about being the doormat in the West this year.

Truthteller

August 11th, 2011
2:22 pm

One thing is fer sure. He aint no Terrence Cody. Matter of fact he aint 10% of what terrance cody was at bammer. I’ll take kwame geathers and hope we get by with him

Johnny DangerDawg

August 11th, 2011
2:22 pm

great interview, Chip!

Fairely

August 11th, 2011
2:25 pm

Ha. Ben Jones teaching him how to play. He must have learned a lot from the schooling that Fairley gave him last year. Or the pounding Cody gave him on blackout night when Knowshow ran for only 34 yards behind Ben Jones and company. Ben Jones- you gotta be kiddng. He should have just stayed in the state of Alabama.

Kerryb

August 11th, 2011
2:25 pm

truthteller, the coach that coached both of them at Miss. Gulf Coast said that Jenkins was better than Cody. Cody was just a big fat guy who plugged up the middle just because of his size. Jenkins is around the same size. The difference is that Cody was just fat. Jenkins is more muscular, faster, and more athletic than Cody.

lardawg

August 11th, 2011
2:26 pm

Jenkins sounds like a good humble man

Writer of this story needs a good lesson in spelling. This was atrocious. Hey, this is supposed to be a professional article. Cynthia Tucker write it? UGA is getting no favors with her coming there.

Kerryb

August 11th, 2011
2:28 pm

Like I said, all Auburn fans need to go to their own blog and talk about how they are going to get totally killed by Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas this year. You will be lucky to finish next to the last in the West this year. By the end of the year, last year will be a distant memory to you.

BirdDog

August 11th, 2011
2:32 pm

Time will tell Truthteller. I’m sayin you don’t know jack!

Born2Bark

August 11th, 2011
2:36 pm

more updates please I’m starving!! thank you

LHarding Dawg

August 11th, 2011
2:38 pm

Ben did just fine against Fairley last year. He just quit at the whisle and Fairley kept going so he could get the cheap shot. Only a dufus would brag about that.

Patrick

August 11th, 2011
2:38 pm

All these Auburn fans are funny. Yes, Auburn won last year, and yes Nick Fairley had some late hits on Murray. But please do tell me… how many times did Fairley, or the entire D for that matter, sack Aaron Murray? Auburn won because, scandal or not, Newton was the best player in college football last year, and UGA couldn’t stop him in the 4th qtr. Simple as that…

The shimmer of the 2010 season will soon be over for the barners.

Hollywould

August 11th, 2011
2:45 pm

That is the problem, you guys think Jones did fine. UGA couldn’t stop him in the 4th. Didn’t Ga have a 21-7 lead?

BIG-D

August 11th, 2011
2:47 pm

I’ll take twenty-two guys with Jenkins attitude right now….you can tell by the comments the players are making….new attitude in Athens and we’ll be able to see it on the field once the season begins…can’t wait!

LHarding Dawg

August 11th, 2011
2:48 pm

Hollywould – You guys beat us with your offense not your defense. Our offense scored enought points to win most SEC games. Our defense could’nt stop Cam, so Auburn won.