New Football Starter Happy To Be Healthy

One of Auburn's key football players discusses the next challenge for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Tommy Jackson's first collegiate start was a productive one, which was good news for the junior noseguard and the Auburn defense.

In an early preseason scrimmage, Jackson was injured as his arm was bent in an unnatural direction and he suffered a dislocation of a bone. The big lineman was put to sleep to put his bone back in place and he missed much of the preseason workout schedule.

Fortunately for the former Opelika High star, there was no bone cracks or breaks and what could have easily been a season-ending injury turned out to be something he has been able to overcome.

Coach Tommy Tuberville originally projected that Jackson would be back for game two vs. Mississippi State, which is set for this Saturday in Starkville. However, Jackson's healing process moved ahead of schedule and the junior played, and performed well, in the 31-0 opening day victory over Louisiana-Monroe.

However, to get back on the field he had to wear a special arm brace that had to be covered with a soft wrap so the brace couldn't be used as a club to bash offensive linemen or anybody else big T.J. wanted to pound.

T.J. Jackson

Jackson says the wrap is a nuisance. "I am ready to get it off," he says. "I can't wait until I can take it off and just play with my regular arm. He (team trainer) said after this game I will be able to do something a lot smaller, which I can't wait for."

Jackson notes that he enjoyed being on the field for the season opener. "It was good to be back out there in a game to see what we have and what we need to work on," he says.

Auburn had no problem in defeating Louisiana-Monroe last Saturday or Mississippi State last season. However, that group of Mississippi State Bulldogs didn't play with a lot of passion for Jackie Sherrill last season at Jordan-Hare Stadium after Coach Sherrill announced he was stepping down as head coach.

Jackson runs a drill at Wednesday's practice.

New head coach Sylvester Croom had his Bulldogs playing with high energy in a 28-7 opening day victory over Tulane. That got the attention of Jackson and other Auburn players.

"Those guys look great," Jackson says of the Bulldogs. "They seem like they are real happy guys and they are happy to be out there playing. They have the love of the game, you can tell. They look like a unit. It is going to be a war."

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