In this 11th edition for the 2012 season we sat down with recently acquired defensive back Brandon Jones and discussed transitioning from QB to DB, joining an up and coming football program at Georgia State and much more.
Editor: After just joining the Storm this past week, how has the experience been being in Tampa Bay and getting to know your teammates?
Brandon Jones: It’s actually been really good. A lot of the guys have been very open, letting me know how things run, and trying to fill me in with knowing my role. They approached me with open arms. It seems like we will really bond and it seems to be a wonderful place to be playing in.
ED: Now, this isn’t the first time you’ve had to adjust to new surroundings, as you once transferred schools during college from Mars Hill College near Asheville, North Carolina to Georgia State. What factored into your decision to change schools?
BJ: I started at Mars Hill as a quarterback, and once I got there, they realized I could play other positions and wanted me to do that. I was a little bit stubborn though and wanted to play quarterback, so I thought Georgia State would provide me with that opportunity and it also presented a little bit more of a higher competition level. A lot of the guys at Georgia State were young too, so being that I had played somewhere else previously helped me take on a bigger role there and develop my game. A lot of good things happened for me as a result of transferring schools.
ED: Coming back to Georgia, where you grew up, how much did that proximity to your hometown help you adjust to a new school?
BJ: It helped me a lot. It was really difficult always being away since I’m very family oriented, and to be honest with you, when I was in North Carolina, I felt lost. My family would come see some of my games up there and I never wanted them to leave. So coming back home and playing in the Georgia Dome was really great because my entire family would show up to every home game. Just knowing that they were at the games, it made everything a lot easier for me.
ED: Oh, we have a special guest joining us now. We’d like to welcome in Amarri Jackson.
Amarri Jackson: What was the biggest challenge for you, Brandon, in switching from quarterback to defensive back?
BJ: I think the quickness was tough to get used to. You have to be even quicker on your feet and you’re going up against some top-notch athletes that have a lot of the same capabilities, if not more, than you do. I had to learn to be accountable back there in the secondary.
AJ: How much has the mental approach to the game changed?
BJ: You have to learn your spots more, so before every play you’re thinking about where you stand and what routes the receivers like to run so you can anticipate his every step before it happens. That, and also just knowing what types of formations a team might run when they line up.
AJ: What about Erick McIntosh back there? Has he taught you how to break down the routines and tendencies of certain teams?
BJ: He has taught me a little bit so far. He knows about all these teams and has been around, so when it comes to game time, he can actually identify certain route combinations and let me know what’s up. Learning that, I’ve been able to start seeing that myself.
AJ: Thanks Brandon, it’s been great chatting with you. That will do it for the Storm Insider with Amarri Jackson.
ED: Thanks, Amarri. So Brandon, you transferred to Georgia State just before the school launched its inaugural season. How was it to be a part of the very first football team at the school?
BJ: It’s an amazing feeling and it puts a smile on my face. To be on the first team ever at Georgia State is pretty special. Forever, people will come through and see the picture, and I’ll be in it. It means a lot to know we started that program from the bottom and from the very beginning, and that I helped do it.
ED: In high school, you broke Quincy Carter’s career record for most touchdown passes. Would you consider that as your greatest football accomplishment thus far in your life?
BJ: No, believe it or not. My greatest accomplishment is being able to play in the Arena Football League and to be able to play professionally. The fact that my very first game (May 12 at Georgia Force) actually happened in my hometown was special. I had about 45 people in the stands for that. That was a big moment for not only me, but for them as well.
ED: It’s obvious you like football. What are some activities you enjoy doing off the field?
BJ: I like bowling a lot. That’s probably my favorite. I also like to go swimming, paint-balling, play video games every now and then, and this last one has grown on me, but I like to do yard work.
ED: What’s the highest score you’ve ever had while bowling?
BJ: I think 212 was my best. It was pretty good, but I’m trying to break it.
ED: What about your favorite TV shows? Any in particular you can share with us?
BJ: I love comedy, so as a network, I like anything on TBS. If I had to pick one show though, I would choose NCIS. That’s probably my favorite TV show.
ED: Living all over the South, including in North Carolina and Georgia, what is your favorite part about the Southern culture?
BJ: The hospitality. The people everywhere down here are more willing to help, and it shows. They’re more embracing and loving and don’t mind helping you out.
ED: Being from Georgia, are you a big fan of its famous peaches?
BJ: Sometimes. The peaches are okay, but my favorite fruit is pineapple. I love tea, so sometimes I’ll drink peach tea, but there was this place in North Carolina called Cheddar’s which had banana tea, and I used to kill it.
ED: Any good food that goes well with banana tea?
BJ: My mother’s three-cheese lasagna. It’s one of my favorite foods, so I can eat it with anything.
ED: Very cool. What about music? Do you listen to anything to get you pumped up for a game?
BJ: I like Tupac, Outkast and I really love T.I. There’s a certain variety of rappers I listen to from the South. I also really like Usher.
ED: Usher? Do you think you could ever pull off any of his dance moves?
BJ: Maybe if I get a touchdown. I don’t know if I can dance, but I will try.
ED: Ok, very cool. We’ll look for that next time. Maybe we can even bring Amarri back in for that. Thanks Brandon for sitting down with us.