From January to July, cornerback Adoree' Jackson was fully immersed in the USC track and field program chasing after his dreams of making the Olympics in the long jump. Jackson competed admirably, but his dreams were dashed in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
That brought him back to the gridiron faster than he would have hoped. Instead of being in Rio de Janeiro, Jackson is in fall training camp with the Trojans preparing himself for the upcoming season and a matchup with defending national champion Alabama to open the year.
The opponent may not matter to Jackson, who said "ball is ball" when asked about playing an SEC team to open the season, but he is still having to play catchup as USC is installing the defense of new coordinator Clancy Pendergast. But his learning burden is being eased by a defensive line unit that was considered to be the Trojans' biggest weakness coming into fall camp.
"Coach Clancy [is] out there getting those guys a great rush, so it makes it easier on us defensive backs," Jackson said. "The ball is going to come out quick. We really don't have to cover for that long, maybe 3-5 seconds. That's pretty much all you need."
Jackson is playing with confidence, which is being bred by Pendergast and new defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford. Adoree' has been able to step right in and doesn't feel like he is an outsider learning the defense.
"I really don't feel like I left. I feel like I'm right there stepping in."
Watch Adoree' Jackson, above, talking about how the performance of the defensive line is helping him in the secondary and giving his thoughts on a pair of newcomer defensive backs -- Jack Jones and converted receiver Ajene Harris.
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