City of Iowa, Iowa – Logan Jones changed positions, so he changed his jersey number.
And Jones certainly understands the significance of the number he wore during Iowa Open practice Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Jones, who moved from defensive line to center before the start of spring training, went from number 95 to number 65. That number belongs to Iowa’s latest center-consensus All-American Tyler Linderbaum.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of pressure,” Jones said. “But I texted him and asked if I could have it, and he was like, ‘Yeah, man, I don’t care. It’s a number. He’s cool with it.
Jones has been with Iowa for two seasons, so he knows the legend of Linderbaum, who rose from defensive line to center and became the best in the country at that position.
But there’s more to Linderbaum’s legacy, and Jones understands that too.
“It’s not just what he’s done on the pitch, it’s also in the dressing room,” Jones said. “He’s a Rimington Trophy winner, you think he’s some kind of god. But he comes, and he’s humble. I look up to people like that.
The decision to move Jones from the defensive line was suggested by coach Kirk Ferentz, and it did not go down well with the defensive coaches.
But Ferentz knew that a.) the Hawkeyes had a need at center and b.) the defensive line had the depth.
Jones had worked as a center for a scout team, so Ferentz thought the move made sense.
“It’s a combination of what he might be able to do and then a combination of our depth,” Ferentz said. “That’s really what brought us to this move. We try not to move guys just to move them. If there is a good justification, we will have a discussion.
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“This one I could have gone…what do they call it…thug, where you go all alone and do it. Defensive guys talk to me again now, all that stuff. We have gone beyond. They weren’t happy.
Jones was also unsure about the move.
“The most important thing for me was leaving the defensive linemen,” he said. “I mean, we created such a strong bond. Leaving them and going to another room was the hardest part for me.
Now he hits his old line mates.
“It was a little weird at first, but it’s pretty fun now,” Jones said. “We didn’t have any fights or anything, thank goodness. At the end of the day, I have to beat these guys, even though they’re my old brothers.
Ferentz likes how Jones has progressed in this position.
“Logan played a lot at center today,” Ferentz said after Saturday’s practice. “You think about it, this is his 15th offensive practice, I know he played in high school. But he does a lot of things instinctively, naturally. He has a knack for fitting in the right places, doing the right things.
Jones says the job comes with challenges — learning games, perfecting his footwork, making sure the shots are clean.
“I thought it would be easy – I kinda cracked up in high school. But it’s hard,” Jones said.
” There is a lot to do.
“You have to be a little more calm, patient against (when playing) in defense, when you react and when you attack. The violence is the same, you just have to see what is in front of you. You need to slow down more, especially for me right now. You need to process it more.