PROVO — First-game experiences can be a whole lot different at BYU than other football programs.
Just ask safety Harvey Jackson.
The senior, who transferred from Nebraska in the offseason, found himself an unlikely speaker at the team's fireside last Thursday evening in Connecticut.
During a question-and-answer period, someone from the audience asked about how players who aren't members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fit into the program.
Jackson was put on the spot.
“All the guys up on the stands were like, ‘Harvey, that’s you.’ So I just got up and spoke," he said. "It was a great experience."
Jackson went on to relate the very positive experience he's had in his first two months in the program after playing four years for the Cornhuskers.
“It’s been great here,” Jackson said. “I’ve met a lot of teammates and a lot of friends. The coach is great. The people are great. I feel like home here.”
Jackson followed up his performance at the fireside with some limited but promising play on the field against the Huskies. He didn't get into the game until late but performed well, according to defensive coordinator Nick Howell.
“He played probably seven or eight plays at nickel,” Howell said. “He was assignment-sound.”
Jackson entered last Friday's game not listed on the two-deep roster released to the media, but is listed as a backup to Dallin Leavitt for this Saturday's game versus Texas.
For Jackson, he wasn't even aware of not being listed on the two-deep roster and isn't all that concerned about being listed this week. Instead, he prefers a steady approach — never allowing himself to rest on any laurels.
“I treat every day like it’s game day. I go out there and practice hard, I study hard, and I write down everything Coach Howell says,” Jackson said.
PREATOR PERFORMS WELL: BYU cornerback Jordan Preator wasn't expecting a phone call from Howell the night before the UConn game, but was thankful for it.
Howell informed the freshman defensive back that he'd be starting in his first game as a collegiate athlete.
"He said that I'd been working hard throughout fall camp and that he (thought) I deserved to start," Preator said. "I'd been preparing myself to start a couple of weeks before when I heard Rob (Daniel) and JJ (Jordan Johnson) weren't going to be playing."
Preator followed Howell's call by making one of his own — to his mother.
"I was just so happy. ... I was super excited," he said.
According to Preator, his first start brought about some nerves, but he soon calmed down and was able to contribute heavily to BYU's defensive success.
"After the first play — the fumble on the first play — I was like, 'OK, I'm good to not have something (coming) at me the first play.' ... After the first play it took me a little while to ease into it, but I got comfortable," he said.
DANIEL BACK: Daniel returns to the lineup this week against Texas after sitting out the UConn game with a suspension. His return relegates Praetor to second-string duty as the one definitive starter at corner, according to Howell.
"I know Rob will be one," said Howell when asked who will start. "Probably Mike Davis the other and then we'll probably rotate Preator and rotate Jordan Johnson a little bit. Probably that."
Email: email@example.com Twitter: @BrandonCGurney
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company