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A Homecoming, Yet a Business Trip, for 3 Jets

Posted Dec 12, 2013

The Jets will be playing on the road this Sunday as they fly down to Charlotte, NC to take on the Carolina Panthers, but for one former Tar Heel and two former Demon Deacons, it’s homecoming week in the NFL.

UNC alum LB Quinton Coples, and Wake Forest alumni S Josh Bush and FB Tommy Bohanon each played four years of ACC football in Panthers territory, but this game will be their first time playing in North Carolina as a professional athlete.

“My whole family’s from North Carolina, so it’s going to be good man,” Coples said. “It’s a homecoming for me, but at the end of the day, I’m going down there to make sure I do whatever it takes to get a win.”

The second-year linebacker’s family will have to travel four hours from his hometown of Kinston, NC, located in the eastern part of the state.

Bush’s hometown of Lexington, NC, meanwhile, is only a one hour drive north on I-85 from Bank of America Stadium.

“It’s nothing different than a normal week,” Bush said, “but a lot more family is going to be there. There will be tons of people from back home there because a lot of people already go to the Panthers games anyway.”

Bohanon will also have “a good little showing,” with a couple buddies, his fiancée and her parents and friends making the trip to Charlotte.

For all three guys, however, the reunion with friends and family is just an added bonus to an incredibly important business trip.

“We’re in a situation where we must win each and every week,” Coples said, “so this week we’ve got Carolina and we have to make sure we take care of business.”

Making Like Cam

Quarterbacks Matt Simms (6’3”, 210) and David Garrard (6’1”, 239) are by no means small guys. However, compared to Panthers QB Cam Newton (6’5”, 245), they don’t exactly measure up.

“Maybe if you put me and David Garrard together we can make that work,” Simms joked, “but it’s kind of tough to fit that mold.”

Despite the difference in speed and stature, Simms and Garrard are doing the best they can during this week’s practices as the scout team QBs to prepare our defense for containing Carolina's No. 1.

“I have to do a good job of pretending,” Simms said. “But no, hey, I just have to go out and practice as hard as I possibly can and give them as good a look as possible, and even though I don’t fit the actual physical stature, I think I can get the job done in other ways to get our defense ready.”

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