Jackson said the first practice with new coach Steve Wilks was all about the basics. "Fundamentals," said Jackson. "We have a lot of young guys and we went right back to the basics like it was the first day anybody had played football. We took a lot of basic football and put it into practice today."
Regarding his fifth year, Jackson said, "I will be back. I will graduate in May with a degree in marketing and hopefully will take graduate classes to make myself more marketable in the business world, and if nothing in the NFL works out, I will have the Notre Dame degree to back me up in whatever else I pursue."
The Florida native said he was slowed by injuries for winter conditioning. "It went kind of slow for me as I had some injuries that set me back, although my lower body got stronger and I will get my upper body right this summer, and I will be ready to go come the fall season."
In his career Jackson has played corner and has been used in nickel situations. We asked if the coaches had talked with him about his role in the upcoming season and without hesitation he responded, "I will be starting the games off and then someone else will be in for nickel and dime situations, and I will move into the middle for the nickels more likely. But you know how that goes, we have a lot of competition and nothing is written in stone. Nothing is handed to you . You have to earn everything."
Jackson will be in a leadership role this season. We asked Jackson what type of leader he is. "Leader by example on and off the field and at times by being verbal on the field. You have to get the team to trust you and make sure that their trust is not being misused in any fashion. If the team follows you and you are a good leader, then we will have a lot of success."
Coach Willingham has said this team needs to get its confidence back and Jackson agrees. "First we have to look at ourselves in the mirror individually. Everybody has to play their role. We have to be a strong unit. Then we have to go out every game one by one and win. We have to win with confidence and play the best ball we can. Everybody has to listen to the coaches, and the veterans step up and play like they're supposed to and the young guys filling their roles, we will get our confidence back as soon as possible."
We asked Jackson to give us his thought on the new defensive backs coach, Steven Wilks, "He is a perfectionist. He wants his unit to be the talk of the team. If anybody mentions Notre Dame football, it should be the Notre Dame secondary and the rest of the team instead of the weak point that a lot of people look at us now as the weak link on our team. He feels we should be the focal point and strength of our team and this is a great attitude which everybody is going to follow easily and we are going to get better every day. He is a great addition to the squad."