Friday at Relian Stadium, Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson and defensive coordinator Frank Bush met with the media at a press conference. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Defensive coordinator Frank Bush Cornerback Kareem Jackson
Texans CB Kareem Jackson
(on getting drafted by the Houston Texans) "It's a dream come true for me, and I'm going to come in and work hard. I'm going to do whatever it takes to contribute to the team and to help win."
(on if there was a older player that he wanted to grow up like when he was younger) "I grew up watching Champ Bailey. As a kid, I always loved his game and his techniques, so I always tried to watch the things he does and model myself after his game."
(on what today was like for him) "I've been overwhelmed. Like I said, it has been a dream come true, what I'm doing. I am truly blessed, and I'm enjoying it."
(on what area he needs to improve on if he wants to go up and excel in the NFL) "There is always something you can get better in, day in and day out. Back in my college days, we would work on technique everyday. I think I can improve on my tackling a little bit. Instead of just trying to make the knockout hit, I will try to wrap up in it and make it a for-sure tackle."
(on playing against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in his first NFL game) "Someone told me about that last night. It's going to be a challenge. I'm looking forward to it. I won't back down to too many challenges. Watching Peyton Manning, even though he's a great quarterback, I will be out there and I'm going to make my presence known."
(on what he learned from Alabama coach Nick Saban that will help him on this professional level) "I learned a lot from Coach Saban in the three years of being at the University of Alabama. One of the things that he stressed all the time to me was to pay attention to the details and all of the little things. That's what makes great players. Once I learned to do that, it really helped me on and off the field. That would most definitely have to be the biggest thing I learned from him."
(on starting as a rookie freshman at Alabama and its help in his transition to the Texans) "I think it will a whole lot. I wouldn't really say it's pressure because it's playing football, that's something I love. I'm going to put my all into it. I'm going to come in and work hard. I don't expect anybody to give me anything, I'm just going to come out and earn everything that's given to me. I don't really think of it as pressure."
(on what defensive coordinator Frank Bush has told him about the Texans and his future role) "To be honest, I haven't really heard anything. Maybe before I leave I will sit down and talk to him and see what the game plan is for me."
(on if he has a football weakness) "I don't think I have a weakness. I know the areas I can improve in, but like I said, day in and day out I'm going to come in and work hard. I'm going to bring that will and that want to the team."
(on what it's like to add another weapon to the defensive arsenal) "Of course, we've always talked about becoming a tougher defense, and Kareem brings that. We like the fact that he played in a winning program. We're trying to get our program to be a winning program, so we're really excited about that. We believe that since he came out early that he is still moving up. He hasn't reached his ceiling yet or reached his full potential, and we're excited. We believe that he could be the piece to get us off our "humps" throughout the National Football League. We think his presence will make our defense a more physical defense."
(on how stressful draft day was to him) "It was stressful sitting there just watching other guys get called. It was nerve-wrecking, but at the same time, I have never been through anything like that. I was trying to take it all in and enjoy it with my family. I had a lot of fun. It's a new chapter in my life that is ready to start."
(on what went through his mind when there were two other cornerbacks rated ahead of him) "Nothing really. Those couple guys that were ahead of me, they are good corners. I've watched a couple of their games, but I know what I can bring to the table and I know what I can do on the field."
(on if he got his hopes up to be a first-round pick) "I wasn't surprised at all. I knew if I came out and ran and everything well at the combine that it would help me out a lot, and it did. From getting my evaluation papers back, I knew that if I had a good showing and then again on my pro day it would raise my stock, and it did. I was kind of a looking forward to getting in the first round, and once it got going, I finally did. I wasn't surprised at all."
(on if the one NFL player he is ready to cover) "No, there is no one guy I'm looking forward to going against. I'm looking forward to the challenge from all of them."
(on Jackson's physicality and if that's what attracted the Texans to him) "Absolutely. We've talked, even since last year when I took the job, that we needed to be a more attacking, physical defense. We need to go into games and try to establish our presence as a defense. Our offense has done a fabulous job of letting opposing teams know they're out there. We need to start doing that on defense. Even way back in December when we first put the tape on to watch this kid, we knew that's what he was bringing to the table. That was really the attraction. Like he said, though, he ran well at the combine, but even before then, we knew that he was one of the guys we liked. We liked the way he played, we liked his presence on the field. Basically, we liked a lot of things about him, and fortunately for us he was there for the taking as the 20th pick."
(on how the draft choices played out in order for the Texans to pick up Jackson) "We had some things set up and they didn't come out the way we planned as far as the running backs were concerned, but from the word 'Go,' Kareem was our guy. He was our highest rated defensive player. For what we needed, he was everything the Houston Texans needed as a defensive back. When we had the opportunity we jumped right on it."
(on the lessons he takes from his non-winning time at Alabama) "Just buy into the coaches. The first year Coach Saban was there, some of the guys didn't buy into what he wanted to do as far as the team and the on and off the field issues. The next year, everybody started listening and that year we went 12-2. Everybody finally got the picture and bought into what he was trying to do. Last year, everybody finally got the picture and bought into what he was trying to do and we got it going as an organization. That was the biggest thing."
(on what makes Coach Saban so special as opposed to other college coaches that have come from the NFL) "He's a very good man as a coach. He coaches the corners, so we would have individual meetings with him, individuals on the fields. He's very hands-on and knows exactly what he wants. He's going to get it out of you by any means necessary."
(on if he's ready to be a starter immediately) "I think I'll be ready when the time comes. I'm going to come in and work and improve in every aspect of my game. I'm going to do the little things and pay attention to the little details that are going to get me better as a player. I'll be ready to come in and contribute in any way possible. If that means starting right away, then I'm ready."
(on if Coach Saban thought he should stay one more year at Alabama and why) "He thought I should stay simply because there was potential to be All-American and team captain. We had several talks about it, but I was confident with my decision."
(on if Saban's hesitations were based on him not being ready to play in the NFL) "No, no it was never that."
(on what it says that there will be three Alabama players starting on the Texans) "I think it says that they breed good football players."