|A conversation with LSU legend Bert Jones
|Question: How did you like the two-quarterback system at LSU and the coaching staff?
Answer: "The LSU coaching staff was old school and not very smart at either understanding or
"LSU was playing two quarterbacks all the time, primarily a run-option type quarterback. That just wasn't
conducive to my style. They did some things that were not copacetic. They told me that I would be calling
the plays, and then I didn't But that wasn't any big deal. I played only half the time while i was at LSU.
Q: What was their logic there? Were you just shuttling in plays from the bench?
A: "No, you'd go in for a series, and then come out for one or two, and then go back in. It was a weird
deal. I may have one NCAA record. I'm the opnly quarterback in the history of 1A college football who
only played half the time and was second string, who made consenus All-Anerican, and who was a
first-round NFL draft choice. We had one quarerback who could throw the ball and one qarterback who
could run. So, they threw the guy who ran and ran the guy who threw,"
Q: What kind of seasons did you team have?
A: "We were very successful, and we were probably ranked in the top 10 during my three years."
Q: Did you go to bowl games?
A: "We want to the Orange Bowl my sophomore year, the Sun Bowl my junior year, and the Bluebonnet
Bowl my senior year."
Q: What did the Colts say when they called you about being their top draft choice?
A: "The told me to come on up and see if I can make their team. That's kind of the perception I had.
"Houston had the first pick, and they had drafted Dan Patstorini two years before, so they didn't need a
quarterback. New Orleans had had the second pick, but they traded it to Baltimore for a defensive
lineman (Billy Newsome) whom they thought was real good, but turned out to be a journeyman. That
was one of the major sins of the Saints back then. They weren't in a position to need a quarterback
because they already had Archie Manning, who was in his second year."
Q: Did you have any weaknesses as a quarterback?
A: "I didn't have many. I don't want to sound ugly, but I was probably faster than any other quarterback,
and I was bigger than any other quarterback. I threw as well, if not better, than any other player. The
motor skills were not weak. A weakness was probably that I was real intense."
Q: How important is blocking by the running backs, for protection of the quarterback?
A: "Blocking by the running backs is vitally important.
Q: It's an often-overlooked aspect of the game.
A: "It's often overlooked, except by the quarterback. If you have two running backs who can block and run,
you can kill anybody. But if the defense can lock in on one running back and knows that the other guy is
a blocker, then basically you're one armed going into fistfight.
"Having a running back who can block is truly an asset, especially with the mobility of the linebackers in
today's game. If you've got somebody who can contain a linebacker one-on-one then it's a home run."
Q: The Colts were going nowhere and you asked to be traded to the Rams, which they did. So what
happend that year?
A: "I played only a very abbreviated season with the Rams because after two games there was a strike."
Q: And after the strike what happened?
A: "If it had not been for the strike, I could have played six or seven more years. i wouldn't have had had
the career-ending injury. A hit blew my jaw out, and I called time and told them to fix my jaw, to pull it
back in place. Then I went back in and finished the game."
Q: Then what happened?
A: They told me I was going to need a spinal fusion. The operation took a long time. It will any time
they're plucking a ruptured disc from in and around you spinal cord. They didn't realize it was as bad as
it was. My injury was similar to Darryl Stingley's, but it had a different result. It's just that when I ruptured
and exploded the disc in my neck and fractured the cervical, it didn't interrupt my spinal cord."
Q: How are you physically today?
A: My neck is a little stiff, but I think that's from talking on telephone eight hours a day."
Q: Do you wish you were still out there playing sometimes?
A: "For a bunch of years, being retired from football wasn't a problem, because I remembered what it
had been like in the hospital. I remember the doctor saying, 'I don't know why you're not suffering from
some kind of paralysis.' And I said, 'Like what?' And he said, 'Like breathing,or moving from the chin
down.' 'I said, 'Hello. There's a real world out there, and this is not part of it that i need right now."
Q: How has the NFL changed since you retired?
A: "Since I retired in1982, the game has changed in a lot of ways. For one thing, the pay is different. I
was the highest-paid player in the league for a little while, and I wasn't receiving what a second-string
offensive lineman would be getting now.
"The game is more exciting, The players are bigger, faster and stronger and they hit harder. When I
played my offensive linemen averaged 245 pounds. Today, they're more than 300. There is less finesse
in offensive line work, and there is more throwing.
"There are more rules, which restrict the ability of the defense to attack a quarterback. And if a
quarterback is less vulnerable to injury, you can have more reckless abandon in your over-all game
"The 'Look at me' attitude is one of the things that made me not miss the game as much when I had to
retire. I really despise 'Look at me.'"