we did against Tech. It’s a big challenge. We’re up to it.
ADW: How big of a challenge is this game for you?
JJ: Like I said, it’s big. But every week in this league is big. This is the SEC. Talent-wise, you’ve got to prepare hard every week or you get beat.
ADW: You do realize, no one is giving you a chance against unbeaten LSU?
JJ: What has helped us this year is that we take each game one at a time. No looking ahead. Some people have written us off all year, especially when we started out with two losses. At the end of the day, none of that matters. In fact, I’ve used that to motivate me a few times.
ADW: To be a Butkus Award nominee is the highest honor given a college linebacker…your thoughts?
JJ: Oh it’s a blessing, and I’m so thankful. But I’ve put in a lot of hard work. You know I love the game, but it’s about respecting the game, too. And it’s all about preparation. Much of the credit goes to my coaches, and my teammates. I definitely could not make the plays all by myself. Football is the ultimate team sport, and sacking a quarterback has as much to do with what the other guys on defense do, as much as it is what I do.
ADW: About the Butkus Award. Dick Butkus was a star in pro football in the 1960’s. Do you even know who he is? Have you seen him play on film?
JJ: You kidding? Dick Butkus was the best linebacker to ever play the game. Every time he was on the field, the other team had to watch out for him. I’m not Dick Butkus, but I try to set a tone when I play. Every time I’m on the field, I leave everything out there. I fight and scratch on every play.
ADW: So what do you do to relax after an intense football game?
JJ: After games I’m really not tired, to be honest. I just chill with the boys. It’s nonchalant. I love video games. I love music. I’m a Tupac fan. I love to figure out the message in music. Hey, basketball is my first love, really, and when I’m not playing football, I love to shoot hoops.
ADW: What do you envision yourself doing 10 years from now?
JJ: Well, I’ll be a college graduate. I’d like to be playing in the NFL. For sure I’ll be giving back to my community from where I came.
ADW: Tell me something no one knows about you.
JJ: A lot of people think I’m mean. I guess I look mean. At school, some people are intimidated by me. I don’t know. I like to stay loose. I’m friendly and playful, really.