By Shawn Wansley
Jones College Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – Jones College has a bit of a different look as far as 2019 spring football practice goes.
Last year, the Bobcats only had 16 players for spring drills.
On Tuesday afternoon, head coach Steve Buckley welcomed 38 players out for the opening day of practice.
"We are way better than we were last year as far as depth goes," he said just prior to the start of practice. "But we still only have five offensive linemen today. We've got depth at corner, receiver and running back and we've got two quarterbacks. But we are excited about the first day of practice.
"The rain got us yesterday and we've got a wet field today. But we are ready to get started."
Jones posted a 10-2 record in 2018, won the MACJC South Division and captured the Mississippi Bowl with a 27-7 victory over Eastern Arizona.
Buckley said the Bobcats have three goals for this year's spring practice.
"The goals for the spring are really simple," he said. "No. 1 is to stay healthy. No. 2 is to try and implement the offense and defense we are installing and get that into place. And we want to get in as many quality reps as we can this spring."
The remainder of the 2019 Bobcat squad will report for the second session of summer school on July 7. They will go through four weeks of preparation and conditioning as they get ready for fall practice in August.
Buckley said it's important for the current players to have a solid spring session.
"I think spring practice is good, but sometimes it's overrated," he said. "We challenged this group to understand that we've got a great signing class coming in with them. But this group is the cornerstone right now and we just need to get it going today."
Jones will have nine official spring practice dates with the final session set for April 25.
The Bobcats will host several camps this summer, including a combine camp, a 7-on-7 camp and an overnight camp.
In August, the team will begin preparing for the season opener which will be on Aug. 29 at Coahoma. The Bobcats will play four of its first five games on the road this year.
"When August gets here you've got two weeks and then it's game week," Buckley said. "But our kids will be ready when that time comes."
The first home game of the season will be at 7 p.m. on Sept. 12 vs. Hinds.