What are his strengths as a football player?
Doug Madoski: If you’re talking about his strengths as a football player I would have to say his athletic ability is a huge strength for him. He’s smart and picks things up. He understands what’s going on around him, and has the ability to read coverages. The best way I could describe Blake is by saying he’s pretty much a complete football player. I think his ability to read a defense while running routes puts him in a unique spot to make plays that a lot of people can’t make. He runs great routes, he’s got tremendous leaping ability, tremendous hands ... all in all, Blake’s just a really good football player.
What do you think will be the biggest transition for him moving from the junior college game to the Big 12 Conference?
Doug Madoski: I think the speed of the players is going to be the biggest thing he’ll need to get used to. Blake finds ways to get open the way he runs his routes, and he’s played against some pretty good football players in some of our opponents, but I think that’s going to be one of the biggest things for him ... just seeing how fast everybody is. In junior college there were maybe a couple of guys in the secondary but now the linebackers are going to be faster than they’ve been, and I think even more of an adjustment will be in how fast the defensive linemen are. If there’s one speed that’s going to be faster in the Big 12 than in community college, just the speed of those D-linemen and how they get their hands on you, and how physical they are from top to bottom in the type of conference.
Do you think he has a chance to make an instant impact or will there be an adjustment period for him?
Doug Madoski: I think that Blake playing in that offense he’s going to have a chance to make an immediate impact. I certainly am hoping he does. I think he’s certainly athletic enough, quick enough and talented enough. I think there’s always going to be an adjustment and I think that’s normal regardless of how good you are ... again, when I think the competition level goes up and it becomes more well rounded at every position on the field for the team, there’s always going to be a learning curve. It would shock me if Blake isn’t past that learning curve at the mid-point of spring football or at the end of spring football.
Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Doug Madoski: I think for a few reasons. One, I think Coach (Kasey) Dunn did a good job of recruiting him. I think the fact they came out and had the interest they did was important. Blake got a lot of interest from a lot of different schools but I think those guys really related to him, and they were one of the first schools in on him. I know Coach Dunn came out to watch him play (this past season), and I know that Coach (Todd) Monken and Coach Dunn came out in the summer time to meet with him. He just related very well with that staff. He’s really excited about Coach (Mike) Gundy and everything he’s heard about him. I don’t want to use the term young staff but for a lack of better terms, I think it’s a staff that gets it. They understand today’s athletes and they understand how to work with these guys. I think Blake sees himself being able to thrive in that type of environment.
What do you think he is capable of accomplishing in his two years at OSU?
Doug Madoski: I think Blake has the opportunity to be something special over the next two years. I think athletically he’s a different kind of athlete than a lot of people have seen and he’s a different kind of tight end. Our tight end is not a 265-pound blocking tight end. I think where Blake is going to leave his mark is in making huge catches when it matters the most. That’s what Blake has done for us the past two years. That’s just the way that kid is. He wants the ball when it matters, and he will work his tail off to make sure he puts his team in a position to count on him when they need him to make a play.
What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Doug Madoski: Truthfully, the growth of Blake Jackson. It’s kind of funny when we sit back and think about it. Nobody knew who Blake Jackson was when we first signed him. But when you see the growth as a person, when you see the growth as a student, and certainly the growth and improvement as a football player it’s been tremendous. We’re going to always remember the big plays that he made and how he had a knack to get open and how he had a knack to make things happen ... sometimes it just didn’t seem like it was going to go our way and how he almost willed it to go our way. But more than any of that, from a coaching standpoint, the biggest thing is going to be how far he has come in a short amount of time. His best football is yet to be played.