Rayshad Jackson playing football the way it should be played
Entering his fourth year on campus, the Miami (Fla.) linebacker is seeking to emerge as more than a reserve linebacker that receives minimal playing time.
The linebacking core could be described as the weakest link on this defense, but with a new defensive scheme in place and a new position coach, this group is seeking to exceed their expectations.
Last month, Jackson mentioned what new linebackers' coach Christian Robinson is looking for out of his new players.
“Being coachable. If you’re coachable, you’re able to play and you’re able to learn from experiences.”
On Saturday night’s season opening win against Charleston Southern, it was obvious Jackson has been a student of the game this off-season.
Jackson tallied a career high five tackles, including one for a loss. Several instances Jackson shed blocks, pursued the ball carrier, and stopped them in their tracks.
For example, Charleston Southern dialed-up a quarterback draw on a long third and 13 early in the game. The Bucs running back was the lead blocker in this play and Jackson avoided the smaller blocker and tripped up the athletic quarterback, forcing a punt.
Linebacker Vosean Joseph has been playing football with Jackson since they were kids. Both Miami (Fla.) natives attended Miami Norland Senior High School in Dade County. On Monday, Joseph acknowledged his excitement for Jackson and what he brings to the table.
“Oh my God, Rayshad Jackson. That’s been my dude since high school, man, middle school, really. But to see Ray actually come out there for the first time, it was crazy. I was just proud of my dude. I’ve just never seen him ball out like that. For me to see him actually do that in a live game, I was like, ‘Ray, it’s your time. You’ve gotta eat now.’”
When defending a triple option style football team, defenses must play assignment football to perfection. Coaches reiterate this all the time, but if someone misses their designated task, a big play can ensue. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham noticed the textbook style defense Jackson displayed Saturday night.
“I thought Rayshad did a good job of tackling. He made some tackles in space that I really liked. He was in the game as far as understanding his responsibilities because anytime you play an option team, you know, you’ve got three elements of it. His would vary on the basis of the call and he did a good job of playing the game the way it needs to be played. Executed his job and made plays.”
Saturday night Jackson displayed a glimpse of what’s potentially to come from the 6-foot, 236-pound linebacker.