Jones eager to coach Tech's outside WRs for the first time
When you’ve been doing something for more than a decade, something you have a total passion and love for, it can be tough to give it up, to sacrifice it for more success in the long run. That’s essentially what Emmett Jones did when he decided to vacate his post as head coach at South Oak Cliff High School and head to Texas Tech in an off-the-field role.
Sure, he understood the move was going to be a necessary transition in order to join the college coaching fraternity, but it was undoubtedly tough taking a step back into the shadows a bit while coaching was going on all around him.
Now, his decision and patience have paid off, as he’s the newly christened outside wide receivers coach for the Red Raiders. Jones is back at it, and he couldn’t be more excited to hit the ground running this spring as a full-time coach again.
“Just freedom. I feel like I can get back to doing what I’m used to doing, what I’ve been doing the last 14 years. Being around kids, watching them learn, seeing these guys, and paying attention to the details, so everybody is eager. We’re fired up.”
And like any good coach or teacher, Jones spent the last year getting a real introduction to what college football is about, making the adjustment, and learning a whole lot from head coach Kliff Kingsbury about Texas Tech football.
“For one, it’s been priceless just being around him, just to learn from him. I’ve been watching him the last five, six years, tried to pattern my style after him. I had to get here and kind of figure out the Texas Tech way, see how everything operates here, see what the kids are like at this level. Being around them the last eight months, nothing really seemed too much different to me. Kids are gonna be kids. But, it’s just been awesome to be around these guys, figure out how they operate on this level, and get an understanding, get acclimated to the Texas Tech way.”
Now, the he’s in command of the outside pass catchers, and being his players over the last year – even off the field – has given him a good idea of how each of the guys he’ll be coaching operates. And while they’ve only been here for a few months, Jones has seen JUCO transfer WRs Derrick Willies and De’Quan Bowman take on some leadership roles as older veterans.
“Those guys, you can tell they’re both quite experienced. They have a workmanship-like attitude. Everything is serious. It’s a business mentality. They approach the game on a day to day basis with an attitude and mindset to get better. The maturity level is so high on those guys, and they’re doing a great job for us leading these young guys, so just the way they approach themselves towards the game as far as getting better. Each day is like awesome. In the weight room, on the football field, in the weight room, all the questions they ask, it’s priceless.”
And while outside receiver has a number of veterans and guys with real playing experience, including veterans like Dylan Cantrell, Ja’Deion High, the aforementioned Willies, and youngsters KeKe Coutee – who could play on the inside as well - and Tony Brown, there are still a few new pieces to the puzzle this spring that redshirted in the fall.
Prime among them is redshirt freshman Quan Shorts. Jones likes what he’s seen from the former Atascocita prospect, and he’s excited about the potential he brings to the table.
“Quan Shorts? Man, I think this kid has some special talent. I’m looking forward to him having a big spring. We meet pretty much every day as a group. I like to spend a lot of time with him, because I see something in him. He’s hungry, very hungry, asks a lot of questions.”
But like with any new position coach, this spring will be a blank slate for every member of the outside receivers corps, and it’s going to a wide open competition to see who comes out on top.
“It’s a free-for-all, everybody get out there. Put these guys in pressure situations, create that adversity, see how they respond, and see who is ready for the challenge. That’s going to help us win this Big 12 Championship.”