One on One with ABC-TV's Keith Jackson

Keith Jackson is the voice of college football. He has done so many of college football's greatest games over the past 30 years on ABC that his name is synomous with college football. This Saturday Jackson and broadcast partner Dan Fouts will broadcast the Oklahoma State game with UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Jackson is working hurt as he recently had surgery for a ruptured Achilles tendon. We spoke with him from his home this week.

GP: Hope you are feeling better.
KJ: I think I am...(laughing). I got a cast put on it yesterday, and I feel like I'm pulling a two-horse wagon. This is an adventure, but at this age you ought to be through with this kind of stuff. I just keep running into doors every year and this kind of stuff happens.
Oklahoma State game in the past?
KJ: Eighty-four at Nebraska. I remember it because of Leslie O'Neal. He had a great game and was a great player and a great tackle. Rusty Hilger, they played pretty well except for a couple of plays. Had it not been for those they might have won, they made it tight at the end. I went over the book yesterday trying to zero in on when and where and that was the one I zeroed in on in Lincoln, Nebraska.

GP: For OSU fans it's a big honor to have Keith Jackson do a Cowboy game. Fans here feel this is a new era with Les Miles, one where this program will be consistently good. What's the take you are getting on OSU as you prepare for this game?
KJ: I think Karl Dorrell (UCLA head coach) said it pretty well the other day. In fact, Karl Dorrell is the main story to this game because of his football team in this town with all the media and things around nipping at his heels doesn't produce a team that performs reasonably well. They don't have to win, but need to perform well or he's in for some tough times. That's just the nature of the beast when you live in a media center.
Les, on the other hand, lives in a relative state of tranquility because he is not in a media center. Though people decry that as a laboring factor that makes it difficult to catch up, on the other hand it has great value sometime when you are restructuring and you don't have somebody trying to sneak a peek behind every door trying to write something nasty about you. There are advantages on both sides, I guess. Karl sits out here with all of these people all over the place, while Les sits back there and is give the privacy to prepare.
I think Oklahoma State is like a lot of schools. My alma mater is Washington State and they went through some dreadful times and then all of a sudden come up with a pair of 10-win seasons. You can do that when you have a change of thinking by the mommas. My most important thing when it comes to recruiting is not only finding the proper athlete for your particular system, but also convincing momma that your place is where her boy ought to be. I'm clearly understanding that the guys that are the coaches at Oklahoma State University now understand that. They are building a foundation for a program that can endure some losses, losses of personnel.
I'm impressed by what I read and what I hear from the guys that have been through there. I remember Stillwater from a long time ago. When Oklahoma A&M was back in those days like Kentucky used to be. You remember that old story about Paul Bryant when he went off to Kentucky and they had their all sports banquet just after he had taken Kentucky to their only SEC football championship and the Sugar Bowl and won it, beat Oklahoma. The basketball coach gets another national championship and he gets a new Cadillac. They gave Paul a cigerette lighter, and he left for Texas A&M the next week. That's the way it used to be around Stillwater. Hank (Mr. Iba) was the big man in town and the fooball coaches kind of labored along. Over the years there have been some abberations. Pat Jones did a heckuva job. They never quite got over the hump. Les Miles looks to me like the man that is going to get over the hump, and I hope he does.

GP: How do you see this game's importance for OSU?
KJ: Getting out of the box is important. If these boys come out here and beat UCLA, that's exciting. It's exciting from the top of the plains right down to the bottom of the plains and it reaches into Texas. In this particular game both these teams have a lot of young men from Texas on their rosters. I don't know why but UCLA has always been able to go down and been able to get some very good players out of Texas. If you can go out and beat a name team at the outset of the season it shines pretty bright for awhile.

GP: What's your take on this UCLA team?
KJ: They aren't big enough. Oklahoma State's offensive front ought to be able to push them all over the field. I don't know how they are going to counter that, but they better figure out some way, otherwise it will be like the old bulldozer. They'll just keep on rooting them down the field. I don't know where he is going to get the people. I don't know where he is going to get the will. I don't know where he is going to get the spirit. That's why they call him coach and that's why they pay him the big bucks. I frankly think from a physical standpoint, and I had to go back and look at last year, now this Oklahoma State team is not the same team that played last year because of the three guys (Woods, Bell, and Fields) that left, but it looks like to me it is a team that has a great physical strength, at least in the trenches, on both sides of the ball at that. That will be hard to handle.

GP: You mentioned the three players that are gone. It's a shame that you didn't get to call a game of Rashaun Woods. He is a special player, but you will see the two younger Woods including Donovan in his debut at quarterback.
KJ: I always like to see a kind that paid his dues. He wore the redshirt. He's been hammered on and worked hard. A redshirt freshman is not a freshman in today's market. Particularly if he of a quality to be the leader of the football team and apparently Donovan is. That's quite a family, a remarkable family. I'd like to spend some time with them, but I won't have a chance . They are coming late. It is a remarkable family, and good students too. Let me say this to Oklahoma State and their circumstances. The home boys play the best. If you get all of the good players in your community or your region, at least your fair share of the good ones. Good people is as important to me as good players because sometimes good people will beat good players. If you get your fair share of them they will hold up.

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