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State's Jackson enjoys the time at Media Days

July 18, 2012

Jackson

HOOVER, Ala. – Gabe Jackson really didn't know what to expect from Southeastern Conference Football Media Days.

The 6-4 320-pound junior guard from Liberty made all the stops on his first appearance at SEC Media Days.

When head coach Dan Mullen told him he was going to be representing the team along with fellow teammates Tyler Russell and Johnthan Banks, Jackson went into it without previous experience.

"I was excited but I didn't know what to expect," Jackson said. "I didn't know what questions people would ask me and how many interviews I would have to do."

Jackson's agenda included 13 stops. Maybe one of the biggest stops was with Cara Capuano on ESPNU.

He also had a moment in the main room where he made all the sportswriters smile.

Mullen had just finished up his visit in the main room, when Jackson grabbed the microphone and said he had a question for Mullen. Mullen didn't seem to hear him at first, but Jackson waved his arm and got Mullen's attention.

"Who is you favorite player?" Jackson asked Mullen with a big smile.
"Jon Banks," Mullen answered with a laugh.

It is pretty obvious that Jackson and Mullen have a great rapport like many of the Bulldogs do with their head coach.

"I was just trying to catch him off-guard like he does me in the meeting room," Jackson said.

Although Jackson had a little fun at Media Days, when asked serious questions, he gave serious answers.

"I think we are heading in the right direction," Jackson said of the team. "Last year was kind of a setback and we have to bounce back, work even harder this year so we can win more games."

Jackson may have been the more unknown player of the three MSU players present in Hoover, but he has been getting a lot of preseason recognition.

Jackson earned Preseason All-SEC second team honors as well as being selected to the Outland Trophy watch list. The Outland Trophy goes to the best interior offensive lineman in the country.

Although he has received some mild preseason respect, to him, it's what happens on the gridiron.

The past two years the Bulldogs have opened up with Auburn on the SEC slate, and both times came away with a loss when a win was in their grasps.

"No matter how many days go by, weeks or months, it is still in the back of my head," Jackson said. "I sometimes have dreams about it. It's always in the back of my head but it drives and pushes you to get better."

For the past two seasons, Jackson and the rest of the offensive line was blocking for a very versatile quarterback in Chris Relf. This year they get a more traditional pocket passer in Tyler Russell.

It may be a little different in the process, but the outcome is still the same when playing on the offensive line.

"No matter what quarterback you are blocking for, you still don't want to give up sacks, you still don't want to get beat and you want to open up lanes for the running back," Jackson said. "So it's pretty much the same, just probably a little more passing involved."

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