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APSU Football running backs coach Brandon Jackson gathers new insights with former pro team

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU FootballClarksville, TN – The past two summers, Austin Peay State University (APSU) running backs coach Brandon Jackson has returned to coach where his professional career began.

Jackson spent the first four seasons of his six-year professional career with the Green Bay Packers, and for two-straight training camps, has returned to Green Bay as part of the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship.

Austin Peay running backs coach Brandon Jackson. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay running backs coach Brandon Jackson. (APSU Sports Information)

The program, named after the legendary San Francisco 49ers coach, “provides NFL coaching experience to a diverse group of participants every year. The program exposes talented minority college and high school coaches and former players to the methods and philosophies of NFL coaching staffs.”

“It was a great opportunity working with the running backs,” Jackson said. “I had an opportunity to do it last year, and they gave me a call and wanted me to come back out. I take those moments in: every day, waking up at 4:30 a.m. and not leaving until five or six in the afternoon. Just soaking in the opportunity, understanding how to scheme, how to game plan, how to get guys better, how to put them in situations to succeed. It was a great opportunity.”

The Packers drafted Jackson in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Nebraska. In four seasons with Green Bay, he amassed 347 carries for 1,329 yards and seven touchdowns, to go along with 110 catches for 844 yards and two more scores.

In his fourth season, he started 13 of 16 games and gained more than 1,000 yards of total offense – his best season as a pro. It was also a dream season for the Packers organization, as the team won the 2010 Super Bowl and brought another championship to ‘Titletown.’

Reuniting with his former head coach, Mike McCarthy, and even some of his former teammates that are still on the team like quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews, was an enjoyable experience for Jackson.

“Just being able to come back and feeling like a part of that team and a part of their success brings me great joy,” Jackson said.

It also makes APSU Governors head coach Will Healy happy knowing Jackson is gaining insight into coaching at the NFL level and how that can be applied at Austin Peay.

“He’s an up-and-coming, growing coach, and any time he gets opportunities to see what it’s like behind the scenes and how it’s done at the highest level is very beneficial to him,” Healy said. “He’s a rising star in this profession, so the more opportunities he gets to get his name out I think will help him in the long run.

“He’s continuing to develop his own style at coaching running backs, and I think that those couple of weeks with that staff will be very beneficial to him.”

One important aspect of his experience Jackson is trying to pass along to the Governor running backs is how to practice like a professional. If their practices emulate those at the highest level, Jackson is confident the backs will be better prepared for the pressure of performing during big games.

“I’ve got these guys out here working and preparing as if they’re NFL guys: when it’s time to turn on the lights, the NFL mentality will come out,” Jackson said. “That’s being fundamentally sound in their technique and alignments: just doing the things I’m teaching them to do. Just staying poised, staying off the ground and keeping their feet running and scoring touchdowns.”

Jackson is excited about the group of running backs headed into the 2018 campaign and has been impressed with their progress so far in camp. Last year’s leading rusher Ahmaad Tanner returns after rushing for 697 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017.

Kentel Williams, who rushed for 674 yards and two scores last season, also returns, as do a host of talented contributors. Tre Nation, Prince Momodu and Daryl Rollins-Davis, each of whom saw significant time in 2017, have looked impressive in camp, as has freshman Jalyn Shelton.

Jackson sees the potential in the backs and encourages them to have lofty goals. And who better to help them achieve those goals than someone who’s been there and done that as a player, and now as a coach?

“I’m taking advantage of the opportunity I have now and trying to get these guys to where I once was,” Jackson said. “It’s great to see guys have a plan and have a purpose to help them get to where I was. I’m going to do everything to empty the tank to get those guys there.”


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