Like anybody else, Janzen Jackson needs a position coach.
The Tennessee safety might occasionally want to see a familiar face from back home in Louisiana as well.
And the sophomore could probably use a confidant as he tries to shed a reputation he clearly doesn't want.
New defensive backs coach Terry Joseph can fill each one of those needs for Jackson, and the blossoming relationship seems to be working every bit as well on the field as it has off so far this spring.
"That (relationship) helps out," Jackson said. "I'm still battling an image crisis with the things from last year and still trying to show people who I really am. It'll come with time and me being on the straight and narrow, getting everything done right off the field.
"Coach (Joseph) is real avid in being concerned as far as books and different stuff, and he's also concerned about how your family's doing. You know, he likes to get deeper than just being a coach. He likes to be a mentor."
Jackson embraced the player he was often compared to as a mentor at the end of his freshman season, but with Eric Berry off to the NFL, in some respects the position was open again when Joseph was hired.
The two already knew each other from Joseph's time as an assistant and elite recruiter at LSU and Louisiana Tech, but they weren't exactly close then. Since meeting back up with the Vols though, they seem to have hit it off and taken things to another level.
"Lucky thing for me is that I knew Janzen before I got here, him being from Louisiana and so am I," Joseph said. "I just told him that I'm here to help him in any way he needs. So we've had conversations in my office, we've had conversations in the meeting room, we've had conversations from his dorm."
That communication has continued on the practice field, where there's been no questioning the impact Jackson can have at the back of the UT defense.
He was easily the most effective member of last year's well-publicized recruiting class, finishing with 37 tackles, a sack, an interception, a forced fumble, a recovery and one wicked hit on Florida receiver Brandon James in The Swamp. Ultimately that was all overshadowed by his role in the infamous attempted armed robbery with Nu'Keese Richardson and Mike Edwards, and even though charges against him were dropped, Jackson is still trying to undo some of the damage.
But that isn't something he's working on alone.
"Every day it's a wait-and-see approach, and we're taking one day at a time," Joseph said. "I think that was a mistake that Janzen made, and he understands that and he knows he can't hit rewind on those.
"But I think he can win a lot of battles here in the future, and that's what he's been doing."
Jackson has already won plenty of them against the UT offense this spring, including one with possible starting quarterback Matt Simms during Thursday's first scrimmage.
New coach Derek Dooley raved about Jackson's interception of a well-thrown ball by Simms, breaking from the hash and making an athletic play to create a turnover - just like he did in the Chick-fil-A Bowl with a leaping grab against Virginia Tech. And just like UT will need more of as it leans on the defense and Jackson this fall.
"Unbelievable ability," Joseph said. "I was at LSU for a year and I was with (Washington Redskins safety) LaRon Landry, and this guy covers a lot more ground than LaRon. Probably not as physical yet, but surely he can be. I mean, just an amazing, amazing athlete and a damn good football player.
"He's been positive since we've been here, and for everybody it was a little crazy because we were not in the offices the first few weeks we were here. We were recruiting, chasing those guys, but once we got in and got everybody on the same page, he's been nothing but positive."
Joseph is doing everything he can to help keep it that way, too.