The "Unstoppable Force" Jackie Battle

"In this offense we have to improvise and be clicking on all cylinders as a team. We do not audible at the line but instead we read the defense and react, and run the play, so we have to all be on the same page." - Jackie Battle

RS - Where are you from Jackie?
JB - I played at Humble High School.

RS - What are you most memorable moments as a HS player?
JB - I only played varsity football during my senior year, so I guess I would have to say that. I do remember my first game as a senior, it was one my best games.

RS - Why did you only play one year on the varsity?
JB - If you can believe it, I grew up on the small side. I was only 5' 8" 150 lbs during my sophomore and junior years. By the time I finished HS I was 6' 2" 215 lbs.

RS - Did you play any other positions in football?
JB - Yes, I grew up playing receiver.

RS - What was your speed during your senior year and did you lose any after your growth spurt?
JB - I ran the 40 in 4.52 and didn't lose any of it from when I was smaller.

RS - Why did you decide to attend the University of Houston?
JB - First off, I wanted to stay close to home so my family could follow my career. When I visited the campus for the first time, I never knew that it was so big and the facilities were so nice, and I realized that it was just as good as any of the others.

RS - What has the difference been in the approach from our new staff compared to the previous one, for example, the attitude, preparation, workout routine, etc.?
JB - It is a much happier environment, it's kind of hard to explain. These coaches don't yell and carry on like the last staff did. It really makes us want to come to practice and look forward to it, opposed to dreading it. Players eventually get tired of hearing all the yelling.

RS - What are your current strength numbers (BP, squat, 40x, ht, wt)?
JB - We have not tested in a while, but will probably do so this spring. When I came in here, I was weighing 252 and I currently weigh 254. I have lost a lot of body fat since arriving and am much slimmer now.

RS - Jackie, a lot has been made about your impressive combination of size and speed. Have you been able to maintain your speed and quickness with the added weight?
JB - My speed is the same as it was when I weighed 225, if not faster.

RS - With the number of quality RBs on the roster, do you think we will be seeing you at FB some, and do you feel comfortable playing there?
JB - I think that is a possibility, I can play either position well.

RS - How many carries, ideally, would you like to have each game?
JB - I will carry however many times they need me to in order to win games, but I guess around 10 – 15. I don't mind splitting carries with the others, we do have some real good RBs.

RS - Can you tell us a little about our newcomer, Ryan Gilbert?
JB - He reminds me a lot of Anthony Evans, they do have similar running styles, but all three of us are real capable runners that can all offer something a little different.

RS - What is your favorite set as a RB to run out of with our multiple schemes we like to play, one-back, full house etc.?
JB - I like to run in a power backfield isolated right behind Matt Schirmer.

RS - Running behind such an imposing offensive line this year, who would you say you like to run behind the most? Who do you think will eventually take his place?
JB - Definitely Brandon Evans and I also like running behind Roy Swan.

RS - Has it been difficult learning a lot of the new sets Art has implemented with the new offense?
JB - At first it was, but once we caught on it got a lot easier. We just go over things with so many repetitions until we get it down. We do not use a playbook at all. It's all in our heads. In this offense we have to improvise and be clicking on all cylinders as a team. We do not audible at the line but instead we read the defense and react, and run the play, so we have to all be on the same page.

RS - Practicing against our defense this year, who do you think the leaders will be on that side of the ball for next year?
JB - I think the leaders on our defense will be Lance Everson, Will Gulley and Joe clay, but there are really quite a few.

RS - With the team tasting a little success last year what are you expectations heading into next season?
JB - We just need to keep improving and get better. We want and expect to win every game we play in and to get in another bowl.

RS - Who are the new players coming in who you expect to elevate the offense next year?
JB - The players that standout are Donnie Avery, Anthony Alridge, Bennie Swain and Kendal Briles. Last year we had a little speed but with these guys it's going to be real fun.

RS - Can you tell me how you think we will utilize Kendal Briles and the talents he brings to the team?
JB - I am not really sure. He is a great athlete and we could see him play WR, QB, a UB, he can play about anywhere.

RS - What about another QB, Blade Bassler moving to our Big-Slot position?
JB - I believe he will be playing some at the Big-Slot and TE and some WR. He is a great athlete and he should do really well there.

RS - Tell us a little about you experience in Hawaii, and what it meant to break through and achieve a bowl game.
JB - We expected all year to be in a bowl game at the end. Hawaii was a lot of fun, but it would have been much better with a win. It's a game we should have won.

RS - What are you currently majoring in?
JB - I am thinking about majoring in Kinesiology and interested in learning to be a trainer after that.

RS - Do you ever visit CoogFans and how much attention do you pay to what the fans are saying about the team?
JB - I do visit on occasion and like to read what everyone is saying, but it really doesn't bother me too much. There are some players who really keep up with the stuff though.

RS - Are there any last words you would like to say to all the CoogFans out there?
JB - I love our fans and they are loyal, but I would like to see more fans come out to see us. It's great as a player to see the stands full every game.

Thank you Jackie for such an outstanding interview. I believe, I can speak for all the Cougar supporters that we are looking forward to seeing great things from you for the next three years.


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