How has Georgia Tech linebacker Quez Jackson developed his role in recent weeks?
“I’d say just letting my pride go,” Jackson said Wednesday in a post-practice interview. “Because in college, it’s a man’s game and it’s different. When you’re in high school, you feel like you’re on top of the world. And when you get in college, it may startle you a little bit, but you just have to stay down, have to look at the older guys, get coaching.”
In other words, a willingness to accept help. Jackson gave the example of following the example of linebacker David Curry.
“Me and David are good friends,” Jackson said. “He kind of brought to me this new plan to where I can study film, look at my playbook more, watch film of the opposing team more and stuff like that that I had to get better at that that I wasn’t good at at the beginning of the season. But I think I’m on the right track now.”
Jackson figures to be in line for more playing time, as will linebacker Bruce Jordan-Swilling is out for the season with a foot injury. He could end up splitting time with Charlie Thomas. In the past three games, Jackson has had nine tackles (Duke), three (Miami) and four (Pittsburgh). Jackson said he and the entire linebacker group are getting a better feel for the defense and the calls.
“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.”
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