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Combine Q&A: Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan highlights his versatility
INDIANAPOLIS — With a defense going through a major makeover after an awful 2013 season, the Sun-Times is looking at draft prospects the Bears may target in the 2014 draft. This Q&A with Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan is part of that series.
On being linked to Bears in numerous mock drafts and what he thinks of schemes:
“To be honest with you, I really don’t follow too many mock drafts. I’m just staying to true to the process, man, just keeping my head down and grinding it out. But as far just schemes, I feel like I can play in any scheme whether it’s a three-man front, which we did play at Florida State, [or] I can play in a four-man front as well. I can attack. I can two-gap. It really doesn’t matter. I feel like I can play anywhere I’m on the front. Just put me on the field.”
On NFL defensive linemen he looks up to:
“I love Ndamukong Suh. I love the way he plays the game, his mindset, the mentality, the nastiness he plays with. The guy’s lethal. You can tell that with the way he plays. That’s the way you have to play this position especially on that level. If you don’t play the game with an attitude, you really won’t make it too long playing inside.”
On evolving into an every-down defensive tackle:
“I feel like that’s where I benefit at. I feel like now in the NFL a lot of nose tackles, especially with three-man fronts, the big 340-, 350-pound guys, a lot of times in the pass situations, those guys have to come off the field. I feel like that’s where I can benefit a team at. I’ve played in a shade [technique], I’ve played over the center, I’ve played in the three-technique. So I can play a three-technique and when it’s a pass situation and you want to go to a three-man front, you can put me on the nose guard, right on the zero [gap]. I can get pressure from the middle of the offense. I feel like that’s where my game changes from anyone else.”
On questions regarding sitting plays out at Florida State:
“I definitely don’t feel like it’s an issue. I played on a team where I only played four full games the entire season, and I just did what I could with the opportunity, man. There wasn’t times where I had to play the whole game, only four games the entire season. Every game I was out by the third quarter, but when my number was called and they needed Jernigan to be in the game, when I knew that I had to be in the game in order for us to win, I was there.”
On playing for a cold-weather team:
“I love the cold weather. That’s the weird part about it. I’m a Florida boy, but I love the cold weather. I think I play better in the cold. I’m ready for it, whatever pitch is thrown at me I’m ready to stand at the plate.”