Offensive Line Coach Brandon Jones is a Unique Fit at Texas Tech
Brandon Jones first came to Texas Tech in 2002 as an lightly recruited offensive lineman. He learned from senior quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, who Jones said is the "The hardest coach I've been around." Also on Texas Tech's campus in 2002 was walk on quarterback Lincoln Riley.
After Jones' playing career concluded he stayed at Texas Tech as a graduate assistant before going to Sam Houston State for a brief stint. After his stretch as a RB and TE coach at SHS he rejoined his ex teammate and colleague Lincoln Riley on the offensive staff under Ruffin McNeill at East Carolina. Jones says, "We had no idea what the hell we were doing." When talking about him and Riley on staff together as young men in charge of the offense. "It allowed me to get all my bad coaching out."
Coach Riley, now the Head Coach at Oklahoma, and Jones are still friends. Coach Jones said he's rooting for Lincoln, "Except that one Saturday" when the Red Raiders and Sooners will play in Norman, Oklahoma.
After coaching at ECU with Riley, Jones moved on to Cal where Tony Franklin and Jake Spavital were the offensive coordinators under Sonny Dykes. Franklin and Spavital both run very similar Air Raid offenses to Kliff Kingsbury's scheme. Lincoln Riley is a Leach disciple in the same vein.
That's what makes Brandon Jones such a perfect fit.
"The cool thing about my transition here is that Jake Spavital and Coach Kingsbury are like best friends." Jones continued while talking about his transition to Texas Tech, Spavital and Kingsbury both coached at Texas A&M under Kevin Sumlin so even the verbiage is almost identical.
What's underrated about a position coach moving systems is that they have to learn the play book just like any new player.
Jones' already knows the playbook, so it's like he's skipped the adjustment period and jumped straight into the coaching phase, "I feel like this will be my best year."
The coaching he'll have to do starts with the youthful experience he has along the trenches. In the penciled in first team, Paul Stawarz, a junior, is the oldest member along with three sophomores and a true freshman. Four of those players had extensive playing time along the offensive line in 2016 but Stawarz will be in a new position and having a true freshman, even a highly touted prospect like Jack Anderson, is generally a recipe for disaster.
I asked Coach Jones if these five guys were the starting five he was taking forward into the season but he said, "I don't play favorites. The kids understand that. I'm going to play the best five that play well together." That's an important note. Over and over at media day we heard about team chemistry and it's important within the position groups as well, especially along the offensive line.
It's not just the offensive production that motivates the offensive line though, "The kids are eager. They're hungry. They've heard how bad they are. I've heard how bad they are. It's just motivation for us." It's that fire that will galvanize this unit moving forward.
2017 Texas Tech Media Day Interviews