Reakwon Jones’ Goal: Instill Confidence as a Leader in Senior Season

public.jpeg

Written by Amanda Pavelka

Confidence, confidence, confidence. 

Confidence is what fifth-year senior linebacker Reakwon Jones preaches to himself. Confidence is what he preaches and works to help instill in the young linebacker squad. Confidence is key, and that’s not the first time we have heard confidence is what the Indiana football squad is lacking coming off of back-to-back 5-7, bowl-less seasons.

“Our depth has improved tremendously,” Jones said at Big Ten Media Days, “so the next piece is to be confident. I feel like right now we have 120 confident guys from walk-ons to scholarships and it's motivating to see that. And when somebody’s confident that’s going to rub off on somebody else, so I feel like that’s kind of the next key piece.”

In last season’s losses, like the heartbreaker against Purdue, the Old Oaken Bucket and a bowl birth really came down to one score. And Jones stands by his word that depth and confidence is what the Hoosiers were missing. 

“People kind of undermine confidence as a piece, but confidence is probably the biggest piece to every football player,” Jones explained. “If you don’t have confidence, you’re not the same. You think slower, you react slower.”

Jones himself had a battle with his confidence and won it back last year. This year, he’s helping the younger players do the same. 

“Coach Ballou was really a big part of me getting my confidence back. He came in and pushed us hard,” Jones explained. “When I got my confidence back through the weight room, I just translated it to the field…. That’s what I’ve tried to emphasize in the younger guys. Don’t lose faith in you. I know it gets hard, it’s tough, it’s college, and everyone’s good here. It’s always trusting in what you’ve got, trusting your abilities. You’re not here for no reason— that’s what I tell everybody. You’re here because coaches and everybody thought you were a good player in high school and that you could really come here and help us.”

When Tom Allen goes on the recruiting chase, he has a certain type, and his player pursuits have to do with everything but the amount of stars they’ve been given. 

“These past couple classes Coach Allen has brought in— they’ve come in hungry. They came ready to learn, eager to learn, competitive. That’s a common thing with Coach Allen,” Jones said. “He knows the guys to get, the guys that will fit in with his team, guys that want the same thing as his team. Some guys were probably underdogs before or whatever, but they come in and they all want the same thing we want.”

As Reakwon Jones flips the page to a new chapter in his senior year at Indiana, he takes lessons learned from former teammate and Pittsburgh Steeler Tegray Scales to lead the young linebacker group.

“(Scales) really just taught me to be relentless and taught me to bring people with me. You don’t go to work alone, you find two, three, four, five other people to go to work. That’s how you get to be where you want to be. You’re going to get where you want to be individually by bringing this team with you. You have a great team, you’re going to have great players,” Jones explained at Media days last week.

Jones has taken it as his responsibility as veteran linebacker of the group to lead, and it’s created an atmosphere of hunger and growth in the offseason for guys like Micah McFadden, James Miller, Cam Jones, Khalil Bryant and Marcelino Ball. 

“They’re eager, they want to come out. They’ll hit my phone saying ‘Hey big bro, when are we going out to the field?,” Jones said. 

Jones, like Scales, has been a part of the start of something great he’ll get the opportunity to watch blossom over the next few years as an alumni. 

“It’s the reason I came here. I wanted to change this program. I didn’t want to change it single-handedly, but I wanted to be a part of the change.”

Spring Practice No. 13 Notes and Coordinators' Observations

Spring Practice No. 13 Notes and Coordinators' Observations

Written by Nathan Comp

General Observations

·      Consistent improvement and having tangible goals for what to work on when the spring session is complete were the focuses of practice today.

·      Nick Westbrook returned as a full-participant to practice.

·      Micah McFadden and Raekwon Jones returned as full participants at practice today after having been banged up during last week’s scrimmage.

·      Coach Wommack has adjusted the blitz packages the defense will run. Has focused on making them simpler and more efficient.

Read More

Spring Practice No. 10 Notes and Observations

Spring Practice No. 10 Notes and Observations

Written by Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

After running over 100 snaps in their scrimmage on Saturday, the Hoosiers were back on the field in shoulder pads to start the final third of spring practice. It was also a special day in Bloomington as many former Hoosiers took part in IU’s Pro Day.

Read More

Spring Practice No. 4 Notes and Tom Allen's Observations

Spring Practice No. 4 Notes and Tom Allen's Observations

Written by Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)

Spring Practice Day Four Notables

The Indiana Hoosiers enter spring break on a high note as they wrapped up their first full-padded practice (fourth overall). While Hoosier Huddle was not at the practice, IUHoosiers.com talked to head coach Tom Allen about how he feels after the first four practices.

Read More

Spring Preview- It's Time for the Young Pups to Become the Big Dogs at Linebacker

Spring Preview- It's Time for the Young Pups to Become the Big Dogs at Linebacker

Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)

Spring practice is set to begin soon and Hoosier Huddle is previewing the upcoming camp with positional breakdowns and much more. Today’s preview is a look at the middle of Indiana’s 4-2-5 defense, the linebackers. We’ll start with a brief profile of each player in the position group, proceed with a few things we’ll be looking for in the spring and then wrap up with a projection of the depth chart for the 2019 season.

Read More

Freshman Cam Jones is the Swiss Army Knife of IU's Defense

Freshman Cam Jones is the Swiss Army Knife of IU's Defense

Written By Rylie Kyhn

When Coach Allen came to Indiana, he brought a new defensive scheme and engineered one of the top defensive turnarounds in the country in 2016. Indiana is the most improved team nationally in both passing and total defense. The scheme that Coach Allen brought with him included the husky position and this season, Cam Jones stepped up as a true freshman and took on the role of learning that position and has earned himself a lot of field time because of it.

Read More

The Hoosiers Defense Got Their Takeaways, But Ultimately Show How Far They Still Have To Go

The Hoosiers Defense Got Their Takeaways, But Ultimately Show How Far They Still Have To Go

Written By Rylie Kyhn

The Indiana defense played well at times on Saturday evening against the high-powered Ohio State offense, but couldn’t find an answer for the Buckeye speed. The young Indiana defense forced three takeaways and got several key stops in the third quarter which they couldn’t take advantage of. However, the defense also showed its youth at times as the Buckeyes put up 609 yards of offense and 49 points. Dwayne Haskins had his way with IU for most of the evening completing 33-of-44 passes for a school record tying 455 yards and six touchdown passes. He was the second quarterback in Ohio State history to throw for over 400+ yards in a win over Indiana.

Read More

Spring Practice 2018 Position Preview: Linebackers

Spring Practice 2018 Position Preview: Linebackers

Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)

After a few seasons of absolute certainty at linebacker, the Indiana Hoosiers are mostly starting over at the position. One of the best defensive players to ever play in Bloomington, Tegray Scales, will be playing on Sundays and the athletic Chris Covington will likely be joining him. The Hoosiers are not without talent but experience will be in short supply and questions abound. There’s no doubt this is one of the more intriguing positions entering the offseason.

In an effort to be completely transparent, I will let you know that I wanted to have a projection but there’s just no sense in making a wild guess based on no information. I’ll make a projection on how I believe the depth chart will look at kick off of the first game during the “position battle” article but for now, we’ll just take a look at each player in the group. There is going to be whole lot of fluidity and there are way more questions than answers at this position.

We’ll begin this preview by taking a look at the returning “veterans”. No one on the depth chart has much actual playing experience but these players have at least been through the program and know what to expect from a Big Ten schedule.

Read More