There it was, the first game of the season in 2016 and Mark Jackson was there getting meaningful snaps as a true freshman.
It felt like a sign of things to come, except it wasn’t. Jackson never really became a name to remember throughout his freshman season.
It’s a new year, and a new Jackson as he spoke with Sooners Illustrated on what has been going on so far during the spring.
What was last year like?
Just going through a lot of adversity. Didn’t get to exactly play the way I wanted to or perform the way I wanted to. Just want to make up for it this year.
Did you ever get discouraged?
A little bit. I have a good support staff. Parents, coaches, my faith. A little bit, but you always trust the process that everything will be OK.
Too much, too fast vs. Houston?
Not exactly. I just feel that I didn’t have the right mindset. I was ready to perform. I had the ability to perform, but I just didn’t do it.
Light bulb ever really come on?
I knew what I was supposed to be doing the entire time. I just had to get myself to do it and get into flow of things. It’s a new lifestyle, as a college athlete. Getting accustomed to everything.
Biggest adjustment as a freshman?
Biggest adjustment was managing time. Making sure your body is ready each and every day. You’re responsible for yourself so use all the resources that are given to you. Make the most of it.
Why is this year different?
Maturing. Trying to be a man. Become a better player, teammate, student. Trying to improve in every meaning of the word all over the place.
A new mindset. Just being able to have the opportunity to have full control of your destiny.
Move to 3-4 to 4-3?
Being the fact that we still play some 3-4, I play JACK at that spot and then move to defensive end when we go to the 4-3.
That’s what I was recruited for.
Why does this help you?
At my high school, I played more 4-3. This is what I’m comfortable with. Being able to go out there and make plays.
Ogbonnia Okoronkwo influence?
Helped me through the adversity of growing up in a college setting. Just, you know, trust the process. Came from a great high school Go through the process there and think it will be different in college, but it’s another process. Just keep growing.
No Obo in spring means?
Being able to step up and mature. More reps. Learn the game. Learn the game speed and take in everything I can.
Right now? We’re all just trying to be leaders. Me. Caleb, Jon-Michael Terry. Everybody. Trying to be vocal, trying to be better.
Really Kenneth Murray. He’s quick off the ball. Explosive. Can move all over the field. Addison it’s a great move for him to be that 4-3 guy. He’ll be perfect there and as the JACK in other situations. Great fit.
Really just making sure I get better in pass rush and covering a little better, being a real presence on the field.