Hue Jackson matched wits with Deion Sanders when the two spent a brief period in the NFL competing against each other.
Back then, Jackson was an offensive assistant. Sanders was still going strong as a defensive back.
The two will meet for the first time as fellow head coaches when Jackson State hosts Grambling State on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“I know Deion well. I’ve coached against him, he’s a personal friend,” Jackson said Monday during the SWAC coaches media availability. “We’ve spoken several times and I have nothing but the utmost respect for him as a former player and coach now. He’s done a great job.”
Jackson, who was hired by Grambling in the offense after spending one season as the Tennessee State offensive coordinator, said he reached out to Sanders for advice on how to navigate the newfound challenge of the SWAC.
“He’s been great. Obviously, he has a wealth of knowledge. He’s given me some pointers and some things to look for. I’m thankful for having someone like that and Eddie George you can talk to about those things.”
Jackson was able to pick up his first win as a college coach last week when Grambling defeated Northwestern Louisiana 47-21. The ex-NFL head coach will try to pick up his second against a Jackson State team that has not allowed a touchdown in each of its first two games.
“They’re good, they have really good personnel,” Jackson said. “They know how to play and do a great job schematically. It will be a tall challenge.”
Sanders, who has JSU and the college football world on notice, believes Jackson — with his pro background — will immediately impact a Grambling outfit that has underachieved the last two seasons.
“What he’s doing with that program is going to be phenomenal,” Sanders said of Jackson. “We just have to give him time to make it happen. They’re going to run the football. They throw the football well with almost 300 yards passing, but they ran it really well and were really stout defensively. They needed a victory to give that team a route back. I love everything about (Jackson).”
The matchup will also be Jackson State’s first home game of the season amid the citywide water crisis.
Sanders indicated that the current situation will not hinder Jackson State from preparing for Saturday’s game, which will be played as scheduled.
“The home game is at the right time, right place, right team, the right city,” Sanders said. “These people are resilient. I love the people of Jackson and the resiliency of our people. A home game is like an escape, a vacation from all the tribulations of life. We can’t wait. We’re praying for a packed house and that we have the parking situation handled, the entrances, traffic and foolishness that happens outside the stadium. We’re praying we have all of that together so everybody can mosey on in and have a good time.”
Leave a Reply