If you have not heard by now, Christian Jones, one of the nation's best physical specimens at the linebacker spot, has moved from Sam to Will. In other words, the rising junior is switching "sides" of the defense to play the weak-side linebacker after spending his first couple seasons playing the strong-side linebacker position.
To a lot of folks, this is no big deal. He's just flipping sides of the defense. This move signifies so much more for Jones, both good and bad. He's a physical freak that is built to play the Sam position, now occupied by converted safety Nick Moody. Not only does Jones possess the cover skills that Sam must have to wall off or run with tight ends and take running backs out of the backfield, but he also had the explosive power needed to be a force player in the run game.
That's "a force player" in the run game and not "a force of a player." Yes, Jones is a force of a player, but the Sam position is a "force position" that "hammers" players back inside to the rest of the defense. That means stoning blocks, holding his edge and making running backs cut up, inside of him, towards the teeth of the defense.
Now, Jones is moving to Will, and that's a move that, to be honest, I don't like. Sure, his numbers will look better and folks will not see the big kid in coverage and view it as "a waste." He has a better shot at making it on the All-ACC and All-American teams because so many people vote based upon those numbers that will be increasing in 2012.
Christian Jones is one of the best linebackers Joe Fan has never heard of in college football; he should not have a problem making the Will transition. The kid can run, he tracks the ball well and he brings real bad intentions with him when he gets to the ball carrier. The Will position is fun. It is all about being on the offside, running down your troubles, getting free run throughs, knocking ball carriers' heads off and abusing weakside of the offense.
Jones is going to be just fine. It's Nick Moody that gives me pause. Converted safeties and force play do not always go hand in hand. Ask Kenny Tate at Maryland how difficult it is to get used to hammering tight ends, fullbacks and tackles as you try to set the edge of a defense so your Mike and Will can make a tackle. How Moody handles a guard barreling at him after the tight end and tackle double team Bjoern Werner is the part that raises questions for me.
I know Christian Jones can do those things and having a kid like him at the Sam is invaluable.
Christian Jones is going to be a stud linebacker no matter where you line him up. The kid is going to flourish at the Will spot. However, that move is a big one to watch in 2012, as his replacement, converted safety Nick Moody, is going to be the true question mark of the Seminoles linebacking corp.