And they are ready to take on that role on what is expected to be a vastly improved Sooner defense from the 2008-09 season.
"Yes [I'm ready], I've just been a little bit more vocal out there," Franks said. "You know, and I know the defense a little bit more, so the guys that are out there I feel more comfortable talking to some of the [people] on my side."
Franks was second on the team with four interceptions for 52 return yards, and he also had one fumble recovery he returned for 39 yards, and he racked up 42 tackles in the secondary last season.
Franks tied for the team lead in passes broken up, at 10, with Jackson.
Jackson, who said he is also ready to strengthen the defense for next year, had two interceptions and three fumble recoveries to go along with 72 total tackles in the 2008 campaign.
"Definitely [we're ready]," Jackson said. "We're trying to—I guess we see it's our turn to take over. Last year, the offense had a lot of seniors, like eight or nine seniors, so they were really bringing us along the whole way, especially since we had so many new guys, and that's kinda vice versa. We got nine returning starters coming back on defense. So, I mean, it's going to be a challenge for us, but I mean they took care of us. We're going to take care of them."
Jackson said both him and Franks are working hard everyday to get to the level they want the secondary to be at.
"Oh yeah, definitely," Jackson said. "There's always room for improvement. I mean, both me and Dominique go out there and actually we do a lot of drills that Coach Stoops [orders] where me and him work together, working on our press techniques, so we can become better corners in the huddle."
One thing that's helping feed their confidence is the experience they gained from working in the secondary together last season.
"It's just making me more comfortable," Jackson said. "It's not a big difference from last year. You know, you want to come out every year and try to improve and try to get better. I feel like I did decent last year. I know I can get a lot better, so I'm just trying to come out and take it one day at a time."
So, they are motivated and believe they can be solid on the back line in 2009.
"We have a chance," Franks said. "We always have a chance to get better. We just have to make better plays on the ball."