Friday, September 21, 2007

Tucson Citizen: Cal's ailing Jackson still dangerous


California wide receiver-punt returner DeSean Jackson is not 100 percent healthy yet, but he continues to be better at what he does than most. Jackson leads the Pac-10 in punt returns, averaging 15.8 yards per returns, and ranks seventh in receiving with 14 catches for 112 yards.  He has done a lot to aid California while rehabbing a dislocated thumb injury.  "I'm not 100 percent yet but am close to it," said Jackson. "It has been three or four weeks since I dislocated my thumb. It's a lot better now. I am doing a lot of things I wasn't able to do the past couple of weeks, and I am getting better. I am feeling good about myself."  If Jackson has been slowed by his injury, it's been difficult for opponents to tell. Against Tennessee in the season opener, his first punt return of the season went for a 77-yard touchdown.  Jackson says his most memorable punt return was against Arizona last season. He returned the punt 95 yards for a touchdown. He owns three of the 11 longest punt returns for touchdowns in school history.

"Once the ball is inside the 10-yard line, I can't touch it," Jackson said. "It was one of those things where I felt like if I got it, it was going to be a special return."  Jackson started returning punts while playing Pop Warner Football and continued at Long Beach Poly High School. He has ran back six for touchdowns for school and conference records.  "You have to have the instinct and great vision. You have to be able to see different ceases and blocks," Jackson said. "You definitely have to have the speed in order for people to miss."  Last week Jackson totaled 141 yards in all-purpose yards against Colorado State, including 73 yards on an end-around. He's hoping for more receiving yardage this week as California tries to expose the Arizona secondary once again. Arizona's secondary yielded more than 100 yards apiece to New Mexico receivers Travis Brown and Marcus Smith last week.  "I have a lot of confidence in our coaches to make it happen," Jackson said. "They have two good corners but anything is possible. We're going to do whatever we can to beat them.  "This is huge for us. We definitely owe Arizona from last year. We could have been at the Rose Bowl if we hadn't lost to them."

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