Like It Is

OPINION | WALLY HALL: Jackson takes next step in coaching career


Kenyon Jackson appears to be on a bullet train to success.

On April 16, he will turn 24, but on Feb. 18 it was announced he had been hired as a full-time defensive line coach by the Houston Texans.

He was with the Miami Dolphins when Lovie Smith, his college coach at Illinois, called to offer him a job.

In college, Jackson thought about becoming a sports broadcaster, but football is in his blood.

His dad Keith was a six-time All-Pro in his nine-year NFL career. Keith Jackson and his wife Melanie are founders of Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids, a difference-making academic program in Little Rock.

Keith Jr. was All-SEC for the Arkansas Razorbacks. His youngest brother Koilan also played for the Razorbacks, but he battled injuries his final three seasons.

Maybe there is a hint of irony in Kenyon joining Smith.

Coming out of high school he had a ton of scholarship offers, but none of them were from Arkansas. In those days, head coach Bret Bielema had specific metrics he wanted his players to fit.

Jackson was 6-foot, not 6-2, but most coaches realize the thing you can't measure is heart, and even though he had some injuries, he had a good career at Illinois.

What he showed Smith was a willingness to work hard, then harder and then hardest.

No assignment was too big or too small.

The hint of irony is Bielema is now the head coach at Illinois, and all things considered had a decent first year, finishing 5-7 overall.

Regardless, Jackson took a major step in his career about four years sooner than was expected.

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Coaching on any level can be hard on a family, especially the past 15-20 years when recruiting became a 24-7 job.

Georgia offensive line and associate head coach Matt Luke has resigned, saying he is getting out of the coaching profession so he can spend more time with his family.

Luke replaced Sam Pittman at Georgia, and before that he was the head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels.

Luke, 45, did not say where he was going or what he was going to do, but he's a Mississippi man and most likely he and his family will end up back in his home state.

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The exchange between Michigan head coach Juwan Howard and Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard made ABC's national news Monday night.

Lots of people would love to have news anchor David Muir say their name on TV but not if it was accompanied with the video of the confrontation between Howard and Gard, and Howard slapping Wisconsin assistant coach Joe Krabbenhoft.

What set Howard off was Gard taking a timeout with 15 seconds to play and leading by 15.

When the game ended, Howard was late for the postgame handshake and it appeared he refused to shake Gard's hand.

Gard then confronted him and touched his arm. Howard pointed a finger in his face, and the next thing you know players were involved.

Both coaches were wrong. Gard was wrong to take the timeout, and he was wrong to lose his cool and confront Howard, although he now says the reason he reached out and touched Howard's arm was to explain the timeout.

Howard was more wrong to lose his cool and accost anyone, but the Big Ten stepped in. Howard got a five-game suspension and a $40,000 fine, and Gard was fined $10,000.

The fines were a joke. Howard is making a $3.25 million per year. Gard, in his seventh season as head coach of the Badgers, makes $2.25 million a year.

Shame on both of them for the example they set.