Q&A: Justin Jackson

On Thursday, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini confirmed Justin Jackson will start at center for the Huskers on Saturday. Come inside as the hard-nosed football took questions from the media earlier in the week.

Were you the mean guy on the play ground in fourth ground?
"I don't remember fourth grade. (smirk)"

When did you develop that mentality?
"I have always had it while playing. I'm not the best athlete or the biggest guy, so you have to find a way to seperate yourself. It's my edge, it's what I have always wanted to do, to outwork people. It has helped put me in the spot today."

(On Compton and Jackson's rivalry, despite being on the same side last year?)
"I get called a traitor all the time. I will come out and here and start talking crap to Baker (Steinkuhler) and then all of a sudden they move me back. Then I start talking talk to Spencer Long. I'm loyal to whatever side I'm on. I play hard and there is always going to be competition. There will always be heated moments when everyone is doing their best. No one takes it personal."

How much did Coach Garrison really help you get in with the centers?
"Coach Garrison is by far the most influential person I have had in this program. As far as a figure I would look to as a guy like a father. He was the first coach that I spent substantial time with. He was my scout team coach when I was on the d-line. I feel like we have had a really good relationship throughout my entire career. He has high expectations and pushes me. I wouldn't be anywhere where I'm at today without him or Coach Cotton. They mean the world to me and gave me a shot."

What do you think they saw in you to give you a shot? What characteristics did they see from the defensive line that they thought you would be good on the o-line or that you could switch?
"I don't know. It could have been my work ethic. We were stacked on the defensive line. It's just an opportunity. They said they would take me. I don't know really...I think that I'm a pretty athletic kid. I'm not the biggest guy, 6-foot-2, 280 right now...I can't tell you what they all saw in me, but I'm taking the opportunity and running with it."

Earlier you had 11 guys around you, a few TV cameras, did you ever imagine a point where you would be getting this much attention?
"I tried to avoid it today actually. It's crazy and a honor to have people want to find out stuff about me. I'm not big on it."

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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