Thursday, September 06, 2007

Denver Post: Cal's Jackson Bear inside Rams' tent

Return specialist strikes fear in opponents' hearts
By Mike Chambers
Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick said Saturday's home opener against No. 10 California will be the Rams' biggest challenge since facing Southern California in 2004 - the season the Trojans won their second consecutive national championship.   CSU punter Jimmie Kaylor got more specific. He says the challenge will be facing Cal junior DeSean Jackson, whom he believes is a better kick returner than former USC star Reggie Bush, the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner.   "Twenty-(two) percent of his touches have gone for touchdowns," Kaylor said of Jackson's six career punt-return TDs on 27 opportunities. "He's the best I've seen. My first punt in college was to Reggie Bush and Jackson is better."

Did someone mention Heisman? After Week 1, Jackson's name is on everyone's list for the trophy. The speedster from Los Angeles gained 143 all-purpose yards, including a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown, on just six touches in the Golden Bears' impressive 45-31 home victory Saturday over then-No. 15 Tennessee in Berkeley.  Jackson's first punt return against Tennessee was his last - the Volunteers didn't let him have another chance. It will be interesting to see if CSU goes his way at all.   "DeSean has proved it's very dangerous to punt the ball to him," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "That causes problems. It's easier said than done, to say you're going to punt away from him. I would think people have to think twice about getting him the ball."   Lubick's first thoughts about punting to Jackson are in the affirmative, for the sake of the fans. Lubick has the right to change his mind, but Jackson said Wednesday he is planning to get the ball. And if Lubick instructs Kaylor to go to one of the sidelines, Jackson won't necessarily be out of the picture.

"I try to set up in one position, then move slightly to whatever way I think they're going to punt away from me," Jackson said. "Sometimes that helps me get closer to where I think they're going to kick it."  Hypothetically, what would Jackson do if he were his opponent?  "I'd definitely be smart," he said. "I'd have the right coverages to contain me. But that's a tough question to answer."  Jackson grew up idolizing Desmond Howard and Dante Hall. Jackson said his returns are half-natural, half-refined.  "All summer, all spring, I've been working on certain moves," he said. "When I do those kinds of things on the field, it feels natural. There's a lot of hard work that goes on to this.  "In the moment of a punt return, a lot goes through my mind. After that, I'm just looking for every block possible, every crease to run through."

CSU senior Kory Sperry, who caught eight passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns Saturday against CU, was named John Mackey tight end of the week by the Nassau County Sports Commission, based in Long Island, N.Y.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Congrats on the win and my apologies for a late post. I promised to write in the event of a TN loss but have been on vacation and (gladly) away from the internet and football. Kudos to your offensive line. You could tell who wanted it more. What can I say, if we won them all, it wouldn't be as fun. But I will say, this loss I took particularly hard cause it will be a while before we meet again. I do hope it is soon, however. Two one sided games leave me wondering how a much longer series would go.


Mr. Carroll

p.s. thanks for showing Florida how to beat us! Have a great rest of the year.