The swing can be credited to better tackling by the secondary in space and the fact that Jackson and Dominique Franks, in their first season as starting cornerbacks, have yet to be beaten deep.
“Those two things have been a big improvement,” free safety Lendy Holmes said.
The dependability of the cornerbacks has also allowed Holmes and strong safety Nic Harris to focus more at stopping the run.
And both Holmes and Harris are superb tacklers.
“If we know the wideout is going to get sewed up by the cornerback on our side,” Harris said, “we can focus more on the run game and watch the eyes of the quarterback.”
Next up is Texas, which will reveal the true mettle of this defensive backfield.
The Longhorns boast one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in Colt McCoy, a revamped offensive line that specializes in protecting its quarterback and a pair of reliable senior wide receivers in Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley.
And with nary a run game to speak of, the Longhorns will try and burn OU with the pass.
“We've been looking to this challenge,” Holmes said. “It's what we've been waiting for.
“We're going to find out what we're about.”