Chad Jackson's got a new nickname: "Big Play Chad"

Last week it was a 81-yard touchdown scamper against Tennessee. This time, against the Wildcats, it was a 65-yard blast down the field. Both catches were during crucial moments of the game when a big play was needed to move a faltering offense down the field. Chad Jackson's propensity for pulling off the big play at the right time in the right place is uncanny. Chad's got a new nickname and it's entirely appropriate – "Big Play Chad."

The timing is perfect for Chad to evolve into the Gator's big play receiver on a talented receiving corps. It doesn't matter whether he scores touchdowns or how many catches he ends up with during the course of the game. All that matters is he makes big things happen on the field when the Gators need it the most.

"That's the role I've kind of taken is the big play guy. All the guys are calling me "Big Play Chad" always looking for me to make a big play every game," said Jackson. "Channing came up to me early in the second half and said, ‘You know that's your name, 'Big Play Chad' so just go out there and make big plays.'"

All the more interesting is the fact that so far he doesn't even start the game and probably plays less than a third of the downs. Nonetheless, Chad has caused more excitement for Gator fans than any of the starting wide receivers.

"A guy like me, I'm just going out there and make plays, just go out there and play my game that I know I can play. I'm just going out there and competing with the guys is all."

Of course, Chad would like to eventually become a starter and get in on more plays, especially given his talent. In the meantime, he has to bide his time and just keep on producing. "It's hard but Coach Fedora tells me to just be ready to go out there at any time. I am always ready to go out there and play and get the experience," said Chad.

That's the key – experience. It won't be much longer until he has all the experience he needs, but in the meantime Chad's been doing all he needs to be ready at the right time for the coaches. All summer he and his roommates, Chris Leak and Andre Caldwell practiced their routes to as close as perfection as possible. "(We) would go out there a couple days a week and throw some routes. We talked about how we are going to run the routes and how we were going to throw it. We got in great condition this summer," said Chad.

Coach Zook took notice of their hard work over the summer. "(Chad) Jackson, (Andre) Caldwell, (Dee) Webb and (Chris) Leak; you can just tell those boys have been together all summer and working together. They are all on the same page and they worked hard together."

It's clear all the hard work has paid off for Chad and it's only just a matter of time before we see him on the field more and more as he gains confidence. "I feel much better in my confidence; I feel like I can go out there and play with these guys, go out there and compete and just play my game. Inexperience, the speed was different. I have my speed up, so I just go out there and play."

And play he did. He shares with us how his 65 yard play developed against the Wildcats: "Coach saw something in the coverage and thought we could go deep on them. When I got out there with the play and I looked at the cornerback and the safety I said ‘Ah man, this is going to be open right here.' So the corner was about 10 yards off and I ran the deep post. I just came up and made the play. I could have scored, but I didn't know where he was when I caught the ball and just started running. Plays like that, you just have to get into the end zone."

He also loved the resulting eruption from the crowd and congratulatory gestures from his teammates when he hit the big play. It's a great feeling and Chad confirms it. "It feels great; you have the crowd on your side. Every time I make a big play the crowd goes crazy, everybody likes the excitement. You come back to the sideline and the coaches are congratulating you and players are congratulating you. I like that a lot."

Let's hope that great feeling can only serve as further motivation for many more big plays out of "Big Play Chad" in future games, but know that he's not going to get cocky about it. "With all the excitement, I can't go out there and get the big head. I just have to go out there and make plays and help the team."

Fightin Gators Top Stories