JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – For the Arkansas state football schedule, in many ways it’s the first and 10th. It’s a new season with a new head coach.
But for head coach Butch Jones, he wants his players to live like they’re 4th and one, where it’s more than the game that’s at stake.
Jones created the 4th & 1 program when he took over the A-State program in December, bringing in speakers with ties to Jones or the Arkansas State program, all designed to help student-athletes grow.
“People who are really successful are wired the same way,” Jones said. “They basically have the same message.”
This post understands how to win in the field. The team called on NFL All-Pro linebacker and A-State alum Demario Davis and Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce to give some advice to the student-athletes, who hope to one day be in their shoes.
“I mean it was really exciting, we had some really good guys in there,” said senior lineman Ivory Scott. “They talked to us, they helped with problems off the pitch, problems on the pitch, they helped us in so many ways.”
The big takeaway from these meetings? Players say it’s making the most of your time.
“Don’t waste time, our time is now so we can’t waste it,” said senior linebacker Caleb Bonner. “That was the most important thing, being State A, we just talked about maintaining and defending traditions here.”
The Red Wolves haven’t just heard from NFL superstars, they’ve learned from pros from all walks of life. From psychologists to Navy Seals, from NBA Hall of Fame member Charles Barkley to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
“[They were] giving us knowledge of how to take care of your body, your priorities and all that, ”said junior offensive lineman Andre Harris. “It’s just a great experience. And then we have psychologists, just all kinds of knowledge that we learned in the offseason, so it really helped, it really helped.
Much of the curriculum is education. While the COVID-19 pandemic still rages on, the team also heard from medical professionals talking about the virus and information about the vaccine.
The team is now in the “high 90s” in terms of vaccination rates, according to Jones. He credited the 4th & 1 program for explaining why.
For Jones, he thinks the team takes the program to heart.
“We’re going to put our loudspeakers against any program in America,” Jones said. “I think it’s a great illustration to people across the country that the state of Arkansas is a special people and we’re not going to take precedence over anyone.”
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