Stuart McNair

Alabama safety Eddie Jackson stresses importance of playing ‘with eyes’

Eddie Jackson has earned preseason All-America mention for his play at Alabama

Eddie Jackson may have been like Little Red Riding Hood’s ersatz grandmother when he saw the errant pass coming towards him in Alabama’s 38-10 win over Western Kentucky last Saturday. That’s to say he had big eyes. Jackson made the interception and took it back 55 yards for a touchdown, his third career Pick Six.


Jackson, an All-America candidate safety for Alabama, will be using his eyes this week when the Crimson Tide goes to Oxford to take on Ole Miss in the Southeastern Conference opener. Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m. CDT. CBS will televise the game.


When Jackson discussed Alabama being prepared for the fast pace spread offense that Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly will send against the Bama defense, he said, “We really just need to have our eyes in the right place; really execute our assignments and just take the coaching. When Coach Saban puts the game plan in for us, we just have to execute that.”


Playing with “eyes” is nothing new in football. Alabama players under Coach Paul Bryant always got a final word before leaving the dressing room for the field: “Play with your eyes.” That message resonates today from Coach Nick Saban.


Jackson brought it up again regarding a primary problem for defensive teams, the run-pass option (RPO) in which defensive backs have to be disciplined against the quarterback, who may run or may pass out of what develops as a running play.


“Just execute your assignment and keep your eyes in the right spot,” he said.” The one thing I can say is that you have to have your eyes in the right spot. They're the type of team that their offense likes to come out fast. They'll spread the field. They have receivers who can stretch the field vertically. You just have to do a good job of keeping those guys cut off and making plays.”


That extends to the Ole Miss running game.


“You can't sleep on their running game at all,” Jackson said. “They have a great running back. Chad Kelly, he's a great quarterback. He can do things with his feet as well. As a secondary, he can suck you up to the line of scrimmage and throw the ball over your head. You really have to have your eyes in the right spot.”


Jackson has played well in Bama’s first two games. He has five primary tackles and an assist and in addition to his interception return for a touchdown has broken up two passes.


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