Behind the Facemask: James Stone

Frank Kleha: You have a unique way of snapping the ball to Matt Ryan depending on if Matt is handling it from under center or in shotgun formation. Why is that?

James Stone: I'm a dominant left-handed person but the right-handed under center snap is natural for all quarterbacks. That's what most quarterbacks are used to. The first time I played center I tried to do everything right-handed. But the shotgun snaps were inconsistent so it was just easier for me to switch up to left-handed. I'm more comfortable and consistent snapping the ball back in the shotgun (formation) with my left hand and using my right hand when Matt's under center.

FK: When did you start alternating snaps like that?

JS: I didn't play center until college so I started doing it my junior year. My freshman year it was during the middle of season when I made the switch from guard to center so I was doing the old school hold the nose of the ball pop-up snap, it's what we called it, where you snap the ball on its nose. The ball didn't turn it just came up straight every time. Then, in my sophomore year I tried to do them all with my right hand the conventional (snapping) way but it was inconsistent and we would have bad gun snaps and it would hurt us. I switched my junior season because I was better doing it different ways.

FK: Tell us about your athletic career growing up in Nashville?

JS: I started out playing baseball as a first baseman and power forward/center in basketball. Football was the last sport I played. I picked football up in middle school. I also threw the shot put and discus in high school.

FK: What was your best sports memory?

JS: We went to the football playoffs ever year in high school but my sophomore year we went to the states for the first time at the school since 1975. We were in the third overtime in the semi-finals and when we scored to tie it we decided to go for two points and the win. I played left tackle and they ran it to my side (on the two-point attempt) and we scored to win the game.

FK: What do you like to do in your spare time?

JS: I like movies but I also like to read.

FK: What are reading now?

JS: Growing up I liked Sci-Fi books but I like historical fiction or non-fiction now.  One book that I'm working on now is called Yurugu. It's a book about African and European cultures and comparing the differences between each.

FK: What's your all-time best movie?

JS: I like "Dead Presidents." A lot people don't like that movie but I do (smiling).  It's not all serious and it has some comedy to it also.

FK: What about sports movies?

JS: It's a tie between "The Express" and "Glory Road."  Those two movies I really like.

FK: Who was your favorite athlete growing up?

JS: For most big dudes it was Shaq (O'Neal). I liked his demeanor and he was able to stay relevant and play such a long time being a presence in the middle.

FK: What is one thing would be surprised to know about you?

JS: I wanted to be an astronomer for a long time growing up.

FK: Why an astronomer?

JS: I was into Sci-Fi early, and I was always fascinated by the stars and the celestial bodies. When I was growing up I used to read a lot of books about astronomy, black holes and planets. I also took some astronomy classes as electives in college.

FK: Is there anything you wish would come back into fashion?

JS: Wearing basketball jerseys.

FK: What jerseys did you used to wear?

JS: One of my favorites was a Wes Unseld jersey from the Washington Bullets. I also had Tracy McGrady and a Michael Jordan rookie jersey.

FK: I understand you have a tendency to lose things.

JS: I definitely lose stuff. I have a bad history of losing things; mostly phones. I've probably lost four cell phones since high school. I lost two phones in one week before. I've also lost my wallet a couple of times; twice in college.

FK: What was your first car?

JS: It was a 1976 Chevrolet Caprice. It was garage kept and I fell in to it. The man who sold it to me had it since the 80's but he didn't drive it much. I want to say it had less than 70,000 miles on it. He was moving to a retirement community and he wasn't going to have a garage to put it in so he was selling it. It had a really good exterior. I had it for almost a year before it got totaled. It's a sad, sad story and we won't go into it.

FK: Did you have a Hollywood crush?

JS: I liked Sharday. It started out with her voice and then you finally see her and you go, "Wow."

FK: I read that if you weren't playing football you would be pursuing a public relations career. Is that true?  

JS: That was my major at Tennessee. I think I would have gone through the university and tried to get an internship and done something involving sports PR.  

FK: What kind of music do you listen to?

JS: I listen to mainly R&B and rap. I've heard more country since going to UT and living in Knoxville and was exposed to a lot more country there.

FK: What was the last concert you attended?

JS: I had to go to a Jason Aldean concert.

FK: What do you mean you had to go to a concert?

JS: It was a music class and the assignment was you had to go to a concert and bring back the ticket stub and talk about different elements in the music you heard. And Jason Aldean came into Knoxville and I went with some friends who were already planning to go.  

FK: What did you think about the concert?

JS: I liked it. I actually enjoyed it. It ended up being a pretty good concert. I don't have any of his songs on my IPod, but if his songs come on the radio I will listen.

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