Harker Heights defensive end Malik Jones is in the midst of his first and last varsity season for the Knights. But the rangy 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior is making the most of his opportunity, recording a sack in his last game against Ellison. The defense shined in the Knights victory, and now Jones believes he and the unit have turned a corner.
What is it like being on varsity for the first time as a senior?
It’s a lot faster. There’s much more expected of you (and) for you to mature and be a leader, especially since I’m a senior. I have to show other people that I’m ready to play on varsity.
How different is coach Jerry Edwards’ 4-3 scheme from what you were running before?
I kind of like the 4-3 scheme because I can blitz off the outside, and (I see) a lot less double teams.
What do you feel like your biggest advantage is when you’re lining up at D-end?
What’s your 40 time?
4.7 (seconds). I’m trying to get to 4.6 by the end of the spring.
Are you able to beat guys off the edge without making any moves most of the time?
I try to stay humble, but yes (laughs).
So, what are you working on trying to get better at this year?
I’m trying to get my weight up and trying to get my bench and squat up. I’m trying to go to a D-I school, so I’m trying to compete at a D-I level.
Early in the season you guys were giving up a lot of points. How does that feel as a defender when you’re going out and the other team’s putting up 40 every week?
It’s frustrating, but you know you’ve got to trust the program and the gameplan that coach puts in every week. You’ve just got to trust your teammates.
So, when do you feel like it came together for you guys?
I feel like it came together after the Belton game.
Coach started this new thing called finish. Like when he thought everyone in practice finished we’d get a finish line. So, that was our motivation to finish the games.
How does it feel to be finishing the job now as opposed to earlier in the season?
It feels great.