College: Oregon State
Birthday: July 22, 1983
Strengths: In games in which Steven Jackson carried the ball at least 20 times last season, Oregon State was 7-1 and Jackson averaged 172.5 yards on the ground. In games in which Jackson had less than 20 carries, the Beavers were 1-4 and Jackson averaged 47.4 rushing yards. That would seem to make preparing Oregon State’s offensive gameplan pretty simple, huh? Apparently not for former Beaver coach Dennis Erickson. He needed a three game losing streak (in which Jackson never had more than 15 carries in any game) and a request from Jackson in order to see the light and start feeding Jackson the rock.
Jackson has the run skills of a franchise back – explosive burst, great balance, the size and power to break tackles, and the ability to cut and change directions. He is not afraid to take on would-be tacklers and uses the stiff arm as often and as effectively as any runner in recent memory. Defensive backs around the Pac-10 must shudder at the thought of facing him in the open field.
Areas of Concern: The best way to slow down Jackson is getting to him before he gets rolling. Defenses that load up inside and shoot the gaps to hit him before he is able to build momentum and bust through the line have had the most success stopping him. This season, Jackson will be even more of a marked man after posting such impressive numbers than he was as a relatively unknown new starter last year. He should have plenty of opportunities to prove that he is one of the rare backs who can make big yards even when defenses are geared to stop him.
Like most feature backs, Jackson is not a great blocker. However, he has the size to do the job and should be able to pick that up at the pro level. He has not been used much as a receiver, with only 17 catches last year.
How Would He Look in Steel Blue? Jackson is similar in many ways to Fred Taylor, who ran for 1,200 yards and scored 17 touchdowns as a rookie in Chris Palmer’s offense in 1998. While it would be highly unlikely that Jackson could duplicate those numbers in the Texans’ offense, it does suggest that Palmer knows how to use a running back like Jackson.
(profile written by Warren DeLuca)
Steven Jackson‘s 2002 Stats G CAR YDS AVG TD 13 319 1,690 5.3 15 Steven Jackson Return to The War Room
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