The preseason camp marked the return of Kyle Jackson to the field at Georgia Tech. Kyle has been satisfied with his progress after being away from the game for over a year. "It's good to be back out here with my teammates learning a new defense and that's fun," said Jackson. "We want to be a championship defense this year rather than being a defense on a championship team."
Like his teammate Roddy Jones trying to get back to baseball after being away from the game, Kyle is also finding out the difficulty of picking the game back up after being away from the game like he has. "It's definitely the same," said Jackson. "I've done the best I can as far as I'm concerned and I've seen myself progress each day but I've seen that I was nowhere near where I used to be." With two weeks of camp behind him Jackson now sees himself moving faster and reacting faster.
Kyle felt there wasn't one area where he was behind. He felt that he was behind in everything. "I was slow in everything and was a good bit behind everybody but I felt that the coaches had faith in me to do well so I had an opportunity to jump back in there."
In addition to trying to catch up with his teammates and use his athletic ability, Kyle also had the added responsibility of learning the new defense. "We all had to learn the new defense and that kind of kept me on an even playing field," said Jackson. "My teammates were there to help me out and guys like Brad Jefferson giving me encouraging words helped a lot."
Kyle doesn't think this defense is necessarily better suited for him than the old defense. "It's all about buying into the system and we're doing a good job of buying into the system. The mindset of the players is to be a better defense. "We want to be a force and everyone buying into the 3-4 is making it better for everybody."
The buzzword for the players at the middle linebacker position is "running downhill". "Downhill is everything and my shoulders and wrists can tell those stories." The goal of the middle linebacker now is not to take on blocks but to destroy blocks. "We want to build and fence and a wall so that nobody can run on us."
The preseason was one of constant teaching by the defensive coaches. "It was teaching non-stop and that's what I loved about it because I'm a cerebral person and I love learning how it works." Jackson has even had teaching from Coach Al Groh on the walk to practice. "It's a reinforcement of what you are learning and that's nice."
Jackson is not worried about where he'll be on the depth chart. "That's something that will take care of itself," said Jackson. "I came out of being injured for sixteen months and I couldn't ask to come back and be number one and it's one of those things where you just have to earn it." The linebackers are all out there fighting and competing and that's what makes it fun for Kyle. "I'm not with the ones but I want to compete and get up there and that's how it should be." Kyle hopes that the competition will make the Jackets defense a stronger one as they close in on the start of the 2010 season.