Q&A with Jamaal Jackson
By Raj Sagar, Athletics Media Relations
How do you feel about the way the defense has played up to this point in the season?
Jackson: The defense is playing really well. We are still making some mistakes and looking to improve a lot, but hopefully we will put it all together in the next couple of weeks.
When you play, do you keep the team’s goal of 36 turnovers and 36 sacks in mind?
Jackson: We talk about that all the time in practice and after the games. We evaluate how we’ve played by seeing how close we are to keeping that pace. Right now we need a few more turnovers to get caught up but we are looking pretty good with the sacks.
What do you think of the play of defensive ends Chris Long and Jeffrey Fitzgerald?
Jackson: We know we don’t have to cover for as long because of the pressure they get on the quarterback. It seems like they are always in the backfield, in the quarterback’s face, and batting passes down, which makes our job a whole lot easier.
Describe your welcome to college football moment.
Jackson: My freshman year, playing against Miami, I was on the kickoff return team. The guys I had to block were bigger than I had ever seen before. It was a little intimidating, but that’s when I realized I wasn’t playing high school football anymore.
Which player in the NFL do you try to emulate?
Jackson: Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens because he is so fast and has a ton of range. He also makes a lot of tackles from the safety position and of course is a huge playmaker.
What is your best moment playing Virginia football?
Jackson: My best moment is every time we win. I get the same rush and have the same level of pride every time we come off that field with a victory.
What is your personal goal for the season?
Jackson: I don’t have any numerical goals for myself. My personal goal is for the team to win as many games as possible. In the long run, winning the ACC is definitely my personal goal.
Who is the funniest player in the locker room?
Jackson: Jameel Sewell because he is always joking around. He acts like a little kid sometimes and is always having a good time. No matter what is going on, Jameel can always makes light of the situation.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Jackson: I see myself as a successful person in society. I want to do a job that allows me to help other people.
Is there any game you are looking forward to this year?
Jackson: We love playing Virginia Tech because of the history and the great rivalry we have, but we get pumped for every game. We look forward to every game of the season.
What is the best feeling on the field for a safety?
Jackson: Any time you make a big play, whether it’s causing a turnover, making a big tackle or just doing what it takes. Also, when any part of the team scores a touchdown, it gets the whole team fired up. Everybody on the sideline is going crazy, and it’s a great feeling.
It’s been said that Nate Lyles is one of the hardest hitters in the ACC. Do you agree?
Jackson: I haven’t seen anyone hit the way Nate does. He is incredibly explosive. He doesn’t even have to be running full speed, but because he is so explosive, he can always make a big hit.