Last week, Northwestern corner Daniel Jones made his first start since the bowl game last year. This week, he's listed as the starter on the depth chart for the first time this season. Check out what he had to say about that game and how he's progressed over the past year.
Last week, getting the start, is that the most you’ve played since the Michigan State game last year?
Yeah, I would say. I started the bowl game until the injury, but it’s been the most. I played about 20 or so snaps at Penn State at Nickel, but yeah, this was the most consistent reps that I’ve had this year.
How do you think it went?
I felt like it went pretty well. I felt like, just with time and experience, I’m getting more comfortable and more used to the speed of the game, so everything has slowed down and I think the biggest thing is out scout receivers are really good and they gave us a great look. So when you get into the game, it’s not a huge difference. It’s like, you’re going against the same guys you practice against every day.
Was it rough to get thrown in the Michigan State game last year?
It was rough to an extent. I struggled a lot. But I also think that was something that I needed to have — that bad game — so I could know that I have to work on things so I can learn and build and become a better player from it.
Did that experience and the bowl game help you improve a lot for game experience this year?
Yeah, I definitely think it helped. I think, even with that bowl game, I was a lot more comfortable with the game. It slowed down a lot. I think, when I played at Penn State last week it was a lot slower. I was able to do my job and have a chance to make plays, and I think the same thing translated last week, so the biggest thing is I was just comfortable trusting what the coaches taught me and I’m just going out there playing like I know how to play.
Did you expect to play this much this year?
Yeah, I fully anticipated to play a lot this year. I was slowed down with injuries all throughout camp and then I got injured again, I think the third week of the season, so I think that’s been a big thing, just fighting through injuries and getting healthy. I think every day I come out here and have pretty good practices, and I compete, and I think the coaches know that I’m out here working, and getting better and doing my job, so I think that will eventually reward me with playing time.
You guys have now started four different players at corner. Has that been good for the team?
I feel like it’s been good. I think it’s a lot of guys with experience. It’s a long season, it’s injuries, it’s all types of things that can happen — a guy can go down in the middle of a game, a guy can just be having a bad game — so I just think we have a lot of depth at corner that will help us in the long run this year.
Is the depth better this year than last year?
Yeah, I think we have a lot more depth. I think it’s a lot of guys that have played a lot of snaps, so whoever is out there, I think they’re ready to go and play and help the team win.
Was last Saturday the best you think you’ve played so far?
I think that was probably my best performance. I think the biggest thing is I just prepared and trusted what the coaches taught, played with the technique that I’ve been training with and I was able to be out there and do my job. And there’s still always room to get better; I can still make more plays, but I think I did my job to help the team win.