The Bucs Training Camp Diaries are an annual feature on PewterReport.com and we have two gems this year in veteran nose tackle Beau Allen, who will give PewterReport.com readers insight into the Bucs defense during training camp and the preseason, and rookie running back Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay’s second-round pick, who will offer his perspective on the offensive side of the ball.
Jones is battling Peyton Barber for the right to become a starter during his rookie season. With breakaway speed and electric acceleration, Jones brings a different dimension that Tampa Bay’s offense has lacked for quite some time. Because both Barber and Jones will play in the Bucs’ “Bash and Dash” backfield, the rookie from USC will need to prove in camp and the preseason that he’s mastered the playbook and can handle a sizeable workload during the regular season. In his three years with the Trojans, Jones rushed for 3,619 yards and 39 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per carry. During his junior year, Jones had a breakout season, rushing for a career-high 1,550 yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
The biggest area in which Jones needs to grow is in the passing game. The USC product had just 32 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns in his three years with the Trojans. Jones had a career-high 14 catches for 187 yards and one touchdown as a junior, but clearly needs more work as a receiver and pass protector because he wasn’t asked to play a large role in the passing game while at USC. That will be a big point of emphasis for Jones in August.
I’M JUST READY TO MAKE AN IMPACT
As told to Mark Cook
We are definitely in a training camp routine now. Here’s what a typical day for me looks like. We wake up at like 6:30 am, get to the facility at 7:00 a.m. I take a shuttle from the hotel and then we have a review on the install from the day before and the night walk-through. Then we have practice and we get done at like 11:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m., depending on the day, then we lift weights. That’s the best part of the day. You get to rest and go back to the hotel, eat lunch or whatever. Then you come back around 3:00 p.m., have the team meeting and then we put in the next day’s install, so we’re always a half day ahead. Now we get to play a game in Miami, so that’s the fun part.
I do different stuff every day when we get that break. It depends on the day and how I’m feeling. One day I played Madden instead of taking a nap, and it wasn’t the best idea, so I cut that out. Other times I stay up here (at One Buc Place) and get some treatment. Depending on how long the lift takes you might not even want to go back to the hotel. It’s really day by day.
With the Miami game coming up, I’m anxious to get out there. I don’t know how much I’ll play or what plays I’ll get, but I know I will be playing, so every time I’m out there I’m trying to make an impact and stand out. I’ll be happy to get this under my belt and I’m just ready to take off.
The Dolphins have a few players I know that played at USC. I know the running back, Kalen Ballage. He played at Arizona State, and T.J. McDonald, the safety. That’s probably it for that team.
We have talked about it before, but training camp has been going well. At first, the heat was really hitting me, but I’ve adjusted. I’ve started studying more of the plays and they’re starting to make a lot more sense now to me, now I’m just kind of reacting.
A lot of people ask me the biggest difference between college and the NFL. Definitely the speed of the game and the players’ instincts. Guys are on their P’s and Q’s up here. They know exactly what’s going on and they’ve seen it a thousand times so they’re with it. But it will be great to finally get that first game in.
Justin Watson is my roommate and earlier we talked about him giving me financial advice. I would ask him about things I wanted to buy and if it were a good deal or not. He hasn’t been advising me lately, though. Since we put the pads on we’ve just been going to sleep, so there isn’t too much talk about money right now. He doesn’t snore, but I heard Shaheed Salmon is pretty bad with the snoring. I know Evan Perrizo is pretty bad. Those two for sure – all the big guys. If you’re over 230 you probably snore. Both Justin and I are kind of neat freaks. We’re pretty neat, but I’m probably messier than him.
I played a lot of backyard football growing up like most kids do. As a kid I would have to say I pretended I was LaDainian Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson. Watching them, growing up in Texas. Jamaal Charles, too. I love their game a lot. I was always catching toss sweeps when we were playing backyard football. We would tackle with no pads, but I guess that’s kind of where you earned your stripes back then.
My two favorite backs to watch were probably Chris Johnson and Jamaal Charles, but LT and AP were on top of their game at that point. I definitely looked up to them.
Thursday night is the night down in Miami. I’m just trying to make a splash, I guess. Not do too much, just play within the game and let it come to me. I’m very excited to be out there and play with my Bucs rookie classmates and some of the vets depending on how much they’ll be out there. I’m just ready to make an impact in Tampa Bay.
Follow Bucs rookie running back Ronald Jones on Twitter at @RoJo
The next RoJo Bucs Training Camp Diary will be posted in a few days as well as regular Beau Allen Bucs Training Camp Diaries. Be sure to visit PewterReport.com multiple times throughout the day during training camp for new stories and updates from practice live from One Buccaneer Place, and follow us on Twitter at @PewterReport.