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News

Coach Jackson on Sirius XM Radio

Posted May 5, 2011

Head Coach Hue Jackson spoke to Gil Brandt and Bryan McGovern on Football Wednesday Late Hits on Sirius XM Radio.

Bryan: Hue Jackson, who joins us here on Football Wednesday on Late Hits Sirius XM NFL Radio. Coach, thanks so much for hopping aboard. Bryan McGovern and the godfather Gill Brandt here. How are you?

Coach Jackson: Gil and Bryan, I’m so excited. Any time I hear “Autumn Wind,” I get pumped up and I get ready to play.

Gil: Now talking about getting ready to play, Bryan, I’m going to give you a little trivia question. Coach Jackson is the only head coach in the National Football League that has won a letter in two sports in college. Do you know what the other sport that he won a letter in at the University of Pacific?

Bryan: I’m going to go basketball.

Gil: Absolutely right. 1986.

Bryan: Wow, how about that coach?

Coach Jackson: Wow, Gil, you do your homework!

Gil: Coach, I’ve known you a long time, I’ll tell you that.

Coach Jackson: Yes you have.

Gil: And first of all, I want to congratulate you on becoming a head coach because I remember you as a quarterback, I think in ’85 and ’86 at the University of Pacific, and I’ve encountered you many times since then. And I think another thing a lot of people don’t know is that you’re the only coach that’s coached a quarterback who went to playoff games in his first two seasons in the National Football League. Because while you were at Baltimore, you coached Joe Flacco and Joe Flacco is the only quarterback that went as a rookie and second year and won playoff games. So you’ve got a lot of special things there that have led to your success and will continue to lead to more success.

Coach Jackson: Thank you Gil. Thank you so much.

Bryan: Coach, the Raider fans are very excited about your draft. As we talk about it and break it down, without the first round pick, we’ve talked about over the years the Raiders have been successful second round and beyond. Let’s start with the big fella you got here on the offensive line and also the deal to get you back in the third round. First, Stefen Wisniewski, center, or is he a guard on this Raider team, out of Penn State. Now you have his uncle Steve as an assistant. And also Joseph Barksdale out of LSU. We were talking about him earlier. Gil likes him a lot with those long arms. How about those two players, Coach?

Coach Jackson: Absolutely. I want to take you back because, you’re right. A lot of people say we didn’t have a first round draft pick, but we really felt like we did because obviously we got to retain the services of Richard Seymour, who we traded for and we felt we had the best first round draft pick in the draft. I feel very good about him and where he’s headed. But then to have the opportunity to draft Stefen Wisniewski from Penn State, what a tremendous talent. He’s going to play center for us. I talk about changing the culture a little bit here from an offensive standpoint and I think we all know it starts up front with the lines and so I wanted to make sure we got the right quarterback. When I’m talking about quarterback, I’m talking about the quarterback of our offensive line, someone that can come in and lead a group – a guy who has leadership. But more so than that, a guy who is very physical, very dominant at his position and so Stefen fit that bill and we were able to draft him and we’re very fortunate to have him. And as you talked about, Joseph Barksdale from LSU, you know, a guy who has played left tackle, right tackle. He’s played guard before, I mean, he’s played so many different positions. And he has long arms, he’s big, he’s athletic and he likes to play the game. He’s been very solid and hasn’t had a lot of injuries so we were able to pick him up and obviously to help bolster our offensive line.

Gil: One thing is that Barksdale and Wisniewski are friends because Barksdale grew up in Michigan and they played in various All-Star games together and consequently know each other from those All-Star games. But you know, when you look at Wisniewski, and just look at him from behind, and you see what kind of leg structure he has, you’re going to have a hard time pushing him around. Now, the second thing is, the center is very very important because he makes line calls. And this is a very, very smart football player that you’re going to get the right calls out of him at the right times. I think that helps you win football games also.

Coach Jackson: It sure does because that guy ties the other four guys together and really truly the other five guys along with the tight ends along the front. And I think people don’t get, a lot of the fans, don’t truly understand that when you draft a center how important that is because you have to be strong up the middle of your offensive line because obviously that’s the fastest way to the quarterback. We want to just keep improving our offensive team, especially our front as much as we can and like I said, we were able to get two very quality, top players in this draft to infuse into our offensive line.

Bryan: A couple things as it relates to the offensive line, Coach. Is Wisniewski starter ready? Can Campbell, the kid you got in the fourth round last year, Bruce Campbell, be a starting guard this year, and how does that relate to Al Saunders coming in to run this offense and the guy he worked with at Washington, the quarterback Jason Campbell?

Coach Jackson: You know Bryan, I think all those guys are going to be ready because we’re going to create an environment for them to be the best they can be. How fast they’re going to be ready is yet to be seen. Is it game one? That’s what we all hope, but it might be game five. No one knows that. But I know one thing, I have the coaching staff in place. We have two very good offensive line coaches in Bob Wylie and Steve Wisniewski and obviously Steve has had a storied career here. Obviously Stefen is his nephew and he’s coming here. By no means did we draft him because that was his uncle. We drafted him because of his ability to play football and help the Oakland Raiders organization be champions. But I feel very comfortable that our line is going to get coached through my vision of how I want the offensive line to play. Obviously I have a relationship with Al Saunders that stems back from some years ago in Baltimore. What he brings to the table for me is what I need so that I can be able to touch every part of this football team as often as I can, but I’m also being on offense as my specialty, but I have guy there that I trust. I know he knows exactly what my vision is and how we’re trying to play on offense. It’s really a great match.

Gil: Do you and he go back to the University of California by any chance?

Coach Jackson: No, we don’t. We have some very common friends from the University of California, but no, we did not coach there. I have always admired his work from afar. He’s done a great job everywhere he’s ever been and my relationship with him stems from Baltimore and he was the first guy I hired on this staff.

Gil: One other thing about Wisniewski, he’s still your property. You can make him a player/coach.

Coach Jackson: No doubt. He looks like he could still play and move a whole bunch of people, there’s no doubt about that. But he is going to be, and is, one of the most aggressive, determined coaches I have ever been around. He has a true desire to help us put this offensive line back among the elite. It’s guys like him and Bob Wylie, and the rest of my staff, the rest of the guys I was able to get here, some that we kept, some that we have added here, to be a part of this Raiders organization that I think is really going to help me get this team where we want them to be.

Bryan: That’s the voice of the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders Hue Jackson joining us here on NFL Radio on a Football Wednesday. Coach, in the post draft show, we had one of your new running backs on here Taiwan Jones out of Eastern Washington. We talked to him pre draft. The guy had a great private workout out there in California, was it April 14th? I don’t know, maybe it was you, he said the Raider representative on the phone said ‘welcome to the track team.’ You’re starting to collect a lot of speed here in Oakland.

Coach Jackson: We like to run though. We don’t make any point about our ability to run. But we also like the guys that can play. That wasn’t me that said ‘welcome to the track team’ because we are a pro football team first and foremost, we are just a team that can run really fast. We’re excited to have guys like him. This young man jumps off the video tape when you watch him. He’s extremely explosive. He can run with it, he can catch it, he can return on special teams. You give this man a crease, he’s gone. He reminds me so much of [Chris] Johnson. He’s not [Chris] Johnson. I don’t want to make any comparisons that way, but he has that kind of skill. And we already have a young man who’s playing tailback for us – Darren McFadden – that is sensational. And Michael Bush, so we have two very good players at that position. But boy, this young man is so hard to pass up because he scores touchdowns. As I’ve said, anybody who can help us win games I want them on our football team.

Gil: Does he also remind you of [Jamaal] Charles who plays for Kansas City?

Coach Jackson: Yes, he does. They’re kind of slippery guys. A lot of people say he’s 5’11”, I think he’s a little taller than that. He’s kind of long, but the guy has the ability to sink his hips and explode in a different direction like you said, like Jamaal Charles does and hopefully (Jamaal Charles is in our division) I want to make sure our guy, Taiwan Jones, and Darren McFadden and Michael Bush are better.

Gil: Now Bryan, let me say one other thing to you. I’m not sure they had the best offensive line in college football last year, but they had the second best offensive line in college football without any doubt. [Steve] Wisniewski last year did wonders at Stanford University and developed an outstanding tackle and outstanding guard. So if he can do it at Stanford, there’s no reason why he can’t do it at Oakland.

Coach Jackson: Oh, there’s no question. Stefen, obviously Penn State is known for really good linemen coming out and playing in this league. And he’s just along the lines of another guy who has really worked hard, been a starter there since he walked into campus, worked really hard, did a great job in school, very bright, very tough, really likes to play the game. But more so than that, he really understands this Raiders culture. He understands the commitment to excellence. He understands that we’re chasing perfection He understands that the time is now because he knows we’re all about winning. This is what this is truly all about and he wants to be a part of that, we wanted him to be a part of that, and we’re so excited that we have this young man on our team.

Bryan: Talking about speed, Coach. How about DeMarcus Van Dyke out of Miami, the third round pick? And then you come back with a guy in the fourth round that I love, Chimdi Chekwa out of Ohio State. He was a guy that if he doesn’t hurt his wrist in that bowl game he’s probably going a lot higher than the fourth round. How about the secondary now? How it stacks up? Maybe losing Nnamdi but you get a Chimdi?

Coach Jackson: Oh boy, obviously we got two very young, talented players, we believe, in this draft. DeMarcus Van Dyke obviously was the fastest young man at the combine and people believe that’s why we took him. That’s not the reason why we took him. We took him because I sent Rod Woodson down to University of Miami to work this young man out. The speed at the combine got our attention, watching video got our attention, but Rod went down and came back and said, ‘Hue, this guy can do it.’ He said, ‘This guy has the hips, he has the feet, he has the wherewithal, and he has the smarts to go with cover receivers, and he understands the game.’ So I’m taking this advice from a Hall of Famer, somebody who has done it in this league at a very high level, who told me without a shadow of a doubt that this young man can get it done. I believe in our coaches and so that is the decision we made. I know people think we made it for other reasons, it just happens that this guy can run in the 4.2s. So it added up for us and we think we’re getting a tremendous player and the thing I like about him is that he’s feisty. I mean, this guy will stick his body in there. He’s not afraid to tackle. He played on special teams and made numerous plays. I’m very excited about him, what he’ll bring to the table. Then you mentioned Chimdi from Ohio State. I mean, obviously he had the wrist problem and that’s probably the reason he didn’t get drafted as high, but he’s a big, athletic guy who can run, run in the 4.3s. He’s very physical, loves to play man coverage, loves to put his hands on you and that’s the way we play. We’re going to line up and challenge every receiver in the National Football League because that’s what we love to do. We’ve got two young players that are going to give us an opportunity to do that.

Bryan: A lot of talent back there Coach. What are you thoughts – big contract for Stanford Routt, he’s a solid second round pick, talking about another non-first round pick who has worked out for this Raider defense. How about Nnamdi Asomugha, Coach? Any thoughts there?

Coach Jackson: Well obviously the rules right now won’t let me really get into that, but again, as I’ve always said, every player of ours that are out there who’s sitting until all this is decided with which way some things are going to go and obviously free agency takes its own process, I’d love to have them all back because I think we have a very, very quality team that we left here with in 2010. I think 2011, if we can put the draft picks that we just drafted with our team together and get to practicing some day here soon, that we have the chance to have a very special group.

Gil: I hope you won’t be offended when I make this statement. You’re 45 years old, but you have the enthusiasm of a 20-year-old.

Coach Jackson: Well thank you. I love my job. I love what I do. I love bonding and leading men. I love fighting for a purpose. I love this city. I love this organization. I love Al Davis and what he means to football. What I want to do is everything I can to help put the Oakland Raiders back to where they rightfully belong, Team of the Decades, Team of the years of what they’ve done here in this league. This is what it’s truly all about. It’s about winning and I think we have some really talented players. We’re not afraid to play anybody, anywhere, anytime, because we are the Raiders and we don’t shy away from that. We just need to get to practicing so we can have some of this come true.

Gil: We don’t have any scouting reports on you from Dorsey High School in LA…

Coach Jackson: There’s some out there somewhere.

Gil: But I’ve got some from Pacific University so if you don’t win enough games to satisfy us, we’ll be sure everyone sees your reports from ’85 and ’86 when you played.

Coach Jackson: I know you’ve got them, Gil.

Bryan: Coach, we appreciate your time on NFL Radio. Congratulations on the draft and we wish you the best of luck here as we move along. We’d love to get back to football activities very soon of course and everything is looking bright right now in Oakland. So best of luck.

Coach Jackson: I hope all of our fans are burning up the phone lines and listening to this because we’re building something special here and my goal is to make sure when we first play those first two home games here that this place is sold out and rocking. That this is the place everyone wants to be, here in Oakland, California, watching the Raiders play because we’re going to make a comeback. 

Gil: Well the Raiders have got as many fans as any team that has Sirius Radio and we’ll continue to try to help you sell out those first two games because I know how important it is.

Coach Jackson: Thank you so much Gil.

Bryan: And we won’t forget about that first round pick this year, Richard Seymour. He’s a heck of a player, Coach, you have there.

Coach Jackson: Absolutely, thank you so much.