Aug. 13, 2008
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — For 22 seasons, Carl Jackson served as assistant football coach at the University of Iowa, including a three-year stint as offensive coordinator from 1989-91.
Now he is a spectator and a fan.
During Iowa’s first scrimmage of the preseason Tuesday, Aug. 12, Jackson could be found watching the action from high above the Kinnick Stadium playing surface where he once roamed the sidelines. Hawkeyesports.com caught up with Jackson to see how retirement was suiting a career coach.
“It’s been an adjustment to some degree, but I’ve been finding plenty of things to do to keep myself busy,” Jackson said. “(Tuesday) is the first time I’ve been out to practice — I’ve purposely not come out before.”
As is the case with most coaches — or former coaches — the conversation quickly turned to action on the playing field.
“I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen,” Jackson said. “Sounds like the coaches feel the young running backs are doing really well. None of them have been disappointing. I think Shonn Greene obviously is a key guy. Shonn appears to be doing well and I can see him having a huge year. They’re pleased with all of the backs they have and they feel pretty good about them.”
Preseason practice is one thing. Game day Saturday is another.
“I can see game day being something that will be kind of difficult,” Jackson said. “It’s something I’ve done for as long as I’ve coached and the game day atmosphere is pretty special in Iowa City. It’s an adjustment that I have to make and I will make. Now I’m looking forward to coming to some games.”
Jackson said he has kept busy by working around the house and traveling with his wife, Doris.
“My wife keeps me busy around the house with plenty of `honey dos,'” Jackson said. “We’ve been enjoying ourselves. We went to the Iowa State Fair this past weekend for the first time ever, so we’re getting to do those kinds of things.”
Jackson, who turns 68 years old Saturday, Aug. 16, said he and Doris will move back to Texas — preferably in the Houston area — to be near their son Carl, Jr.
“It’s not like I have to rush down there to take another job or anything,” Jackson said. “This time of year is really nice in Iowa. Texas is really hot. We were down there early in the summer and you expect it to be hot in Texas, just like you expect Iowa to be cold in January.”
While at Iowa, Jackson coached nine of the 11 Hawkeye running backs who have rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season and 12 running backs Jackson coached in college have gone on to play in the NFL. With Jackson on the coaching staff, Iowa won five Big Ten championships, with Rose Bowl appearances in 1982, ’86 and ’91. Iowa earned a BCS Orange Bowl appearance in 2002.
Lester Erb, who spent the past eight seasons as the Iowa receivers and special teams coach, is in his first season coaching the Hawkeye running backs.
Iowa opens the season Saturday, Aug. 30, against Maine with an 11:05 a.m. kickoff inside Kinnick Stadium. Tickets still remain for the Hawkeye games against Maine, Florida International (Sept. 6) and Purdue (Nov. 15).
To view 33 photos from Wednesday’s practice, available exclusively on hawkeyesports.com, click HERE .