November 30, 2012
Jones: Five things you need to know
Since Day 1, Cincinnati's Butch Jones has been the primary target of Purdue in its search for a new head coach.
Because of that, it's worth taking an in-depth look at Jones, his résumé and what he might bring to the Boilermakers.
The following are five things you need to know about the candidate.
1. Jones turns 45 on Jan. 17, which would make him Purdue's youngest head coach since Leon Burtnett, who was 38 when he became the Boilermakers' boss in 1981.
A Saugatuck, Mich., native and '90 graduate of Ferris State, where he played, Jones has a career record of 49-27, with only one losing season, when he guided Cincinnati to a 4-8 record in his first season there in 2010. The Bearcats are 8-3 this season, with a Big East regular-season finale Saturday at UConn. UC can win at least a share of the conference title for the fourth time in five seasons if it beats 5-6 UConn. The 'Cats were picked to finish fourth in the preseason Big East media poll.
In three years at Central Michigan, Jones guided the Chippewas to a 27-13 record, was a two-time MAC champion and played in two bowl games, including a loss to Purdue in the 2007 Motor City Bowl. His 11-2 CMU team, guided by All-America QB Dan LeFevour, lost in the MAC championship game, ending its year short of a bowl appearance.
Prior to his head coaching experience, Jones served a season under Brian Kelly as a running backs coach at Central Michigan; he then spend two years as the wide receivers coach at West Virginia, coached by Rich Rodriquez, before succeeding Kelly at CMU in 2007.
Jones again replaced Kelly as the Bearcats coach in 2010. And after struggling in Year 1, he reloaded and guided UC to a 10-win season and a victory over Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl, the program's first bowl win over a BCS opponent.
2. On his website, Jones describes his offense as a "no-huddle, up-tempo
that utilizes multiple personnel groups and formations to attack and wear down the defense. We will make the defense defend the entire width of the field, not only with our formations, but also with our run game, our short- and intermediate pass game and with our screen passes."
It's been a highly effective attack. Since the 2008 season - the latest date the NCAA keep statistics online - Jones' offenses have scored at least 29.5 points per game in all but one year; the one exception being in '10, Jones' first in Cincinnati and his only sub-.500 year, when the Bearcats were the 57th-best scoring team in the country, averaging just more than 27 points per game.
While LeFevour did a bit of everything at CMU, leading the Chips in rushing and passing during Jones' three seasons there, it hasn't been a one-man show at Cincy. George Winn leads with 1,134 yards rushing, with 11 TD, while the Bearcats' QBs have combined for about 500 yards rushing and six scores.
UC has had some instability at quarterback this season, and has rotated between Munchie Legaux and Brendon Kay; the duo have combined for 2,400 yards, 18 TDs and 11 picks.
In 2011, All-Big East running back Isaiah Pead had 1,259 yards and 12 TDs, while two quarterbacks - Zach Collaros and Legaux - combined for nearly 2,700 yards, 20 TDs and 14 picks. They also had 10 rushing touchdowns.
3. Jones agreed to a three-year contract extension with Cincinnati following the 2011 season.
According to ESPN.com, he was set to earn a base salary of $1.575 million, plus incentives. His base salary is set to gradually increase, with a '17 of $2.05-million.
As part of the deal, the salary pool for Jones' assistant coaches increased from $1.6- previously to $1.85-million, which includes nine assistants and a strength and condition coordinator. Much of Jones' staff, by the way, followed him from CMU to UC. His offensive coordinator is Mike Bajakian, who has Big Ten experience as a G.A. at Michigan in 200-01, while the defense is managed by co-coordinators Steve Stripling and John Jancek. Stripling, the assistant head coach, is a veteran of 30 years, with stops at Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Indiana.
Purdue's total compensation package is expected to be around $4.6-million, including possibly $2.5-million for a head coach and the remaining for assistants. That'd equate to approximately $600,000 more in total monies allocated for coaching.
Jones' buyout, according to ESPN.com, is $1.4-million (up from $1.25-mllion from before the extension) if he leaves prior to Jan. 1.
4. Jones is known for offense, having thrice been a coordinator before a head coach, but his defenses haven't been too shabby either.
The Bearcats' defense is allowing only 17.2 points per game this season, the 13th-best in the country. And they give up only 373.8 yards per game, the 41st-best mark.
In the four years previous to this, Jones' defenses have twice ranked in the top 20 in scoring, ranking No. 20 in '11 (20.3 ppg) and 17th in '09 (18.9 ppg).
On his site, Jones says his defense is "an attacking 7 or 8 man front D, our base being a '4-3' alignment.
"The front seven uses a variety of simple alignment variations to create assignment problems for the offense, limiting their efficiency and overall effectiveness.
"We are a unit which prides itself in being fundamentally sound in our tackling, leverage and knowledge of the defensive scheme."
5. A few of notes of interest on Jones
Since taking over for Kelly at UC, he has recruited Indiana hard, particularly the Indianapolis area. In his four Cincinnati recruiting classes, including the one currently being assembled and the one that Kelly started and he held, Jones recruited nine Indiana natives. By comparison, Purdue over the same stretch recruited 10.
Prior to this season, Jones' teams had been 32-1 when leading at halftime or to start the fourth quarter.
Kelly's 2011 Bearcats' team, for which he won Big East Coach-of-the-Year, finished No. 1 in the country in tackles for loss. The 10-win team, Kelly's finest in his six seasons as a head coach, was salty on defense, allowing only 20.3 points per game and just 357.4 yards. Its rush defense ranked No. 6 nationally, allowing about 96 yards per game.
Kelly might want to vacate the floundering Big East Conference soon and is very likely being courted by more than just Purdue, with potentials such as Tennessee and Colorado, as well.
Jones' special teams philosophy: "
has always been take what they give you. We will be a punt block team or a punt return team; it will depend on who we are playing and what we can best do to take advantage of the alignments of our opposition and situation in the game. This is the mind set in all areas of our special teams."
At UC, Jones has a special teams coordinator, Mark Elder, who also coaches the 'Cats' safeties. Previously, he's coached linebackers, tight ends and running backs.
In the three seasons since Jones left CMU, the Chippewas are 12-24.
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