“You kind of feel better than you do at the beginning of the season,” Jackson said. “That’s what I think makes it more easy, simply because we spend more time with each other in this scheme of defense.”
Jackson said that Thomas has been a particular help.
“It was kind of easy, because me and Charlie, we came in here together, so we always just had that relationship to where we always were with each other and talk about schemes and everything,” Jackson said.
Jackson has earned playing time partially through his performance on special teams. It wasn’t an easy assignment, he said.
“At first, it was kind of hard (to accept being on special teams) just being so competitive, but you have to look at the bigger picture,” he said. “The success of the team means more than anything that I accomplish individually. That’s something I’m going to take with me no matter what. I’m always going to have that ‘next man up’ mentality.”
Most athletic linebacker on the team? Freshman Demetrius Knight.
“But he’s still working,” Jackson said. “He’s a freshman, so he has a lot of time, but he’s a very good player. That’s my brother and I love him.”
An important assignment for Jackson on Saturday will be slowing down Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins, who is averaging 242 passing yards and 43 rushing yards per game.
“He’s a great player,” Jackson said of Perkins. “He contributes to their team very well. Of course, they have a lot of great players over there, but I’d say he’s a guy that, he comes up really big for them, and we’re definitely going to have to do best to try to contain him and try to make it to where he least affects the game as possible.”