LINCOLN, Neb. — When Lamar Jackson came to Nebraska this summer, yeah, he kind of expected this. He thought maybe he’d start the first game, or at least get lots of playing time.
“But it’s one thing to say it and one thing to do it,” the true freshman said after practice on Tuesday.
“And I went out there and put in the work and did it.”
Jackson, the highly touted recruit from Franklin High School, did it all in high school. Quarterback. Running back. Kick return. Linebacker. He was The Guy from Elk Grove, Calif.
But when he came to Nebraska, he was behind a few guys on the depth chart at cornerback.
“That was something I wasn’t used to,” Jackson said.
He admits he called home a few times and was feeling down during fall camp. But sometimes, he said, you just have to humble yourself and get through it.
And now, after getting significant playing time in his first game against Fresno State, Jackson is a little more comfortable, despite not having the best game.
“At first I was all over the place,” Jackson said, “but after awhile I just took a deep breath and just played.”
Jackson recorded six tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack, but was targeted by Fresno State QB Chason Virgil all night long. And it payed off once for the Bulldogs, whose only touchdown came from a throw to a receiver Jackson was covering.
During the game, Jackson said, he just kept thinking “get through this.” And after Nebraska’s 43-10 win, his coaches were apparently thinking too.
“They kind of just loved me up (after the game), coach just came over to me and was like, ‘How’s it feel that this is over,’ ” Jackson said.
Jackson is comfortable, and confident, now that he has a full game under his belt and the confidence of his coaches, who have been talking him up all fall camp and through Week 1.
Now, he said, the challenge is getting better every day. So that he can maybe one day be The Guy in Lincoln.
Some other notes from practice:
- Despite a great performance on Saturday night by safety Kieron Williams, the junior did not have a Blackshirt at practice on Tuesday.
- Senior safety Nate Gerry said he’s ready to play on Saturday for the first time this season. Gerry was suspended one game by coach Mike Riley for violating team rules. Gerry, who led the Huskers in tackles last year, said he’s “ready to hit someone.”
- Gerry has not played a full game since Nebraska’s Nov. 14 win at Rutgers last year, getting ejected in both the Iowa and UCLA games for targeting. With the rule making waves again around the country this year, Gerry said he’s going to just try to stick to the technique defensive coordinator Mark Banker has been preaching and he should be OK.
- Banker said for every game he and the defensive staff keep a chart that tracks points. Positive points include tackles, interceptions, things like that. But Banker said effort is the cornerstone to the Huskers defense. “You don’t need to know anything about our defense to know that it’s all about effort,” Banker said. “It’s kind of like Pavlov’s dog. If we don’t make them do it in practice, they won’t do it in a game.”