Vols glad to have Jackson back for Music City practice

Tennessee defensive back Janzen Jackson tackles Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010.  The Vols defeated the Rebels 52-14.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Tennessee defensive back Janzen Jackson tackles Ole Miss running back Jeff Scott at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010. The Vols defeated the Rebels 52-14.

Derek Dooley on the return of Janzen Jackson

None

Photo with no caption
  • What: Tennessee vs. North Carolina at the Music City Bowl
  • When: Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: LP Field
  • Cost: Not available
  • Age limit: All ages
Full event details »

What is your prediction for the Music City Bowl?

See the results »

View previous polls »

NASHVILLE - As promised by his coach, Janzen Jackson was back on the practice field for the Tennessee football team.

As for why the star safety had been missing until the Vols reported for a chilly workout ahead of the Music City Bowl, that's still a secret Derek Dooley is keeping.

Regardless of the reason, UT was more than willing to welcome Jackson back after missing every practice before Sunday night's at Vanderbilt in preparation for North Carolina on Thursday (TV: ESPN, 6:30 p.m.). And the difference in the defensive backfield for the Vols and in the spirits of the team was apparent from the second he walked out on the field for the first time this month, though Jackson wasn't made available to the media to address it himself.

"I talked to him when he got here, and he seems to be doing good," Dooley said during his evening press conference. "We'll see how the week goes, but if it goes like today, then we expect to see the same Janzen back in the game.

"At some point, I'm going to put it on Janzen whether or not he wants to visit about it publicly or visit about it with you guys, it's just not my place to make that decision. Do I want to protect him? Of course I do, (same with) all of our players. He's a starting player, he's our only all-conference player, so I recognize the curiosity factor and wanting to talk to him. I respect that, so I think the best thing for me to do is talk to him about it before I do anything."

If there's still some mystery around what might have drawn Jackson home to Louisiana before practice resumed on Dec. 15, there's none about his role now that he's back with the Vols (6-6, 3-5 SEC).

The player generally considered to be the most important to UT defensively will slide right back into his starting role at safety, and though his heavy workload on special teams will continue to evaluated over the next couple days, Jackson is expected to be on the field plenty against the Tar Heels (7-5, 4-4 ACC). And based on the early reaction from Dooley and the Vols, there doesn't seem to be any concern that Jackson won't be up to the task.

"I can tell you from seeing his presence out there, feeling his presence out there, it feels good to have him back," defensive end Chris Walker said. "He's one of those guys, he's an Eric Berry-type player, when he's back there, you know he's back there and it feels good to have him back there. We're glad to have him back, it's going to help us out tremendously in the game because he makes everything easier.

"He was happy to be back, and nothing has changed with us. Everything is good, he's still our teammate, still our family, so when he came back it was just like nothing had changed."

With Jackson back, that also means Dooley won't have to continue to make changes in the secondary with a unit that has been tested with all sorts of problems throughout the season, ranging from injuries to suspension.

Jackson's availability alongside Brent Brewer at safety should allow Prentiss Waggner to stay at cornerback, and fellow corners Marsalis Teague and Eric Gordon are expected to be fine despite minor health concerns. And down the stretch, the status quo was pretty good for the Vols at those positions.

It looks a lot different in the back end, especially when you're throwing passes on the sideline - (Jackson) shows up quicker," Dooley said. "He's just one of those athletes that doesn't miss a lot when he's gone. His biggest catch-up is going to be schematic.

"Any time you have issues that can affect you and affect your focus, affect what you're thinking about, it's always a concern. The best thing we can do is try to make him feel like this is our refuge from all that and this is his other family and there's a lot of people here that love him."

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. He may be reached 865-342-6274. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

Get Copyright Permissions © 2010, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2010 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 25

dvhill100 writes:

Whatever the reason for his absence, I hope it has all worked out for him. Respect his privacy. Nobody's business but his and the coaches.

keepitreal4vols writes:

Welcome back JJ.
After watching Carolina's football show on CSS, Butch commented that Tauren Poole impressed him the most and our NFL type receivers were very special. He thought Bray was big part of 4 game win streak and had big play ability. He thought their 5th yr senoir QB would be able to handle all the pressure and blitzes from UT defense.
Basically all the coach speak you would expect. He did seem to think their fans would travel well since its close to home with a backyard brawl type of opponent.

wazzya69vol writes:

As others said, welcome back Janzen. You were back for practice just as you promised CDD. If the "man" (CDD) is okay with it, I know the rest of the Vol Nation is. As you are part of our "Tennessee family", we just hope everything worked out for you. You don't owe us an explanation unless it helps you to move on. Thank you for coming back; we appreciate your efforts on and off the field. GBO!!

VOL1SG writes:

Glad CDD is sticking to his guns regarding this issue. I can imagine recruits have quielty followed how the coach has and is handling the situation.
Welcome back Janzen. Now go out and knock the tar out of them heels! Can not wait till the Thursday. Getting off work early to watch the game.

ROCKYTOPBRAD writes:

I don't want to know !! Kns stop asking personal questions

smokeymtnvolfan writes:

I for on am happy to have Jackson back RESPECT the young mans privacy and let this story go.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

What counts?

Beat the Heels.

Recruit fast LBs.

Sleep till September.

tnsportsman writes:

Welcome Back JJ! Seems like the whole Team is intact, healthy and focused! The parties for us VOLS FANS start Wednesday night on 2nd Avenue!

Rain or shine, WE will be there all afternoon at our tailgate then the game!

GO VOLS, BEAT NC!

NeylandWest writes:

Hang in there, Janzen! Take someone's head off over the middle and rock the Music City!!!

VOLsince68 writes:

in response to wazzya69vol:

As others said, welcome back Janzen. You were back for practice just as you promised CDD. If the "man" (CDD) is okay with it, I know the rest of the Vol Nation is. As you are part of our "Tennessee family", we just hope everything worked out for you. You don't owe us an explanation unless it helps you to move on. Thank you for coming back; we appreciate your efforts on and off the field. GBO!!

Very classy post and I emulate that feeling. I hope all of our VOL brethren feel and can act the same way. Now let's kick some Tar Heel butt!

GO VOLS!!!!!!!!

crimsonviper writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Agree with that Naval...I think CDD is one of those coaches that knows how and when to use the media....smart.

WytheVol writes:

I haven't said too much about Dooley since he was hired. But I've got to say, he has earned my respect. He held this team together when it should have fallen apart. He stands behind his comments and appears to be a man of character. Learning more about the Douglas debacle and why he wanted him so far away from Knoxville, standing behind JJ, saying the right things, knowing when to say nothing, seeming to know when Bray was ready to take over, not afraid to make changes at any position at any time even if the player's stature isn't perfect for the position... After our first regular season with him in control, I'm pretty happy as a fan.

Back to the article... Welcome back JJ! I hope all is well and your personal matters were resolved on a positive note. Just remember everything happens for a reason. That which don't kill you can only make you stronger!

tulelakevol writes:

I like how CDD stands up for his players privacy. The only business that I have with Jackson is what happens on the football field during a game, his private family stuff is completely off limits to everybody but him and the coach, especially the press and fans. Go Vols!!!

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

All your posts well said. It's all about football and anybody's business is their own business...........the media just has to suffer.....
darn it !

We're looking for that same hungry, aggressive play on both sides of the ball. Pressure on Yates is huge.
We can do it however.

Go Vols, let's get a good start on 2011 ( on Dec 30 )
and all our recruits fall in line !

volnnwbama writes:

welcome back mr. jackson. now, lay the wood to em boys. GO BIG ORANGE

gohawks1 writes:

Now go hit a Tarheel..... hard.

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

We're going to need a good game from Jackson to win. This will be a very tough opponent for the Vols. 3 of their 5 losses were by 6 points or less. Their 7 victories include a win at Florida State (the same Florida State that beat Florida 31 to 7 just 3 weeks later). This is the equivalent of a top 5 SEC team that I would equate with South Carolina or LSU. This game should give us a good idea as to where we are heading into next season. I really don't want to fly back to North Carolina after having lost to the Tar Heads. Go Vols!

EMBuckles writes:

I have no idea why Jackson was absent. As long as it did not involve some sort of questionable activity, such as a criminal offense, I really don't care. Even so, just commenting, not judging, people who get involved in some sort of highly visible job or activity (like major university football player, for example, or legislator or the like) need to "put on their big boy shorts" or "put on their big girl panties" and realize that their lives ARE going to be an "open book" whether they want that to happen or not. Don't want that to happen, don't be involved in a highly visible job or activity. Just sayin'. That said, I wish Mr. Jackson well, hope that he has many tackles and that the Vols VERY PUBLICLY CLOBBER the Tarheels in the Music City Bowl and go on to a great season next fall! GO VOLS!!!

joebaxter writes:

Jimmy Hyams has reported that it was a non-criminal issue related to marijuana. That's why he has been missing. Jimmy usually has his facts straight before he reports something like this so I am inclined to believe it. Sad, if it is true, that this guy with so much ability is throwing it all away.

BigVolFaninSC writes:

I agree. Let's all respect his privacy. If he wants to talk about it, he will. I'm sure if the situation had needed some discipline, Dooley would have taken care of it. Just because he plays football doesn't mean his whole life has to be an open book. Now, let's get amped up to kick some baby-blue heels! GBO!

thvol writes:

Glad hes back! Heres everything we need to know about the bowl and what to expect.

http://smokiespost.blogspot.com/

hateNCloveTN writes:

in response to joebaxter:

Jimmy Hyams has reported that it was a non-criminal issue related to marijuana. That's why he has been missing. Jimmy usually has his facts straight before he reports something like this so I am inclined to believe it. Sad, if it is true, that this guy with so much ability is throwing it all away.

Why do you post something like this? Everything I have read on this article was positive until this. If you personally do not know that he was involved with anything questionable then keep it to yourself.

KingDanno (Inactive) writes:

YEAH! Jackson is home where he belongs just like me. Eric Berry killed it in the Chiefs win over the Titans. Jackson is going to be groomed just like Berry was, for another NFL star out of TN. GBO!

KingDanno (Inactive) writes:

Jimmy Hyams has reported that it was a non-criminal issue related to marijuana. That's why he has been missing. Jimmy usually has his facts straight before he reports something like this so I am inclined to believe it. Sad, if it is true, that this guy with so much ability is throwing it all away.

-Well so what if he did you little biznitch?

FarmerVol writes:

in response to Pablopeepants:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yep he is different. Eric was a 1st rounder NFL. Jackson is a second team SEC. There is no comparison. If he doesn't make it at UT for his Junior year, there will never be a comparison. I hope he does and he can start proving it in two days. GBO - beat Tar outta Heels.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features