'Special' guy

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

BURLINGTON -- The element of surprise is gone for Tristan Jackson.

After the Edmonton Eskimos rookie returned a punt for a touchdown last Thursday against the Argos, the Toronto special teams unit will be a little more prepared today in the rematch at Rogers Centre.

"He's better than I thought he was," said Toronto head coach Rich Stubler on Jackson during yesterday's media day at the Argos compound.

That's a refreshing blunt assessment.

DOUBLE DUTY

But, reading between the lines, that means the Argos will surely be ready for the rookie speed demon who put up 194 all-purpose yards (120 on punt returns and 74 yards on kickoff returns) against Toronto last week.

"I think it should get a little tougher," said Jackson on his task ahead. "But I still got the same blockers."

While the Argos downfield coverage players on punts and kickoffs will be more aware of Jackson's quick feet this afternoon, watch for the opposition to kick the ball away from the most feared returner in the CFL right now.

With Damien Anderson not dressed, the Esks will likely place Kelly Campbell or Fred Stamps beside Jackson on kickoffs as an alternate returner.

But at least Edmonton will have Jackson on the field today in downtown Toronto.

He didn't practice on Thursday after having a wisdom tooth removed.

While that doesn't usually make news, the timing of the visit to the dentist chair was very fortunate for the Green and Gold.

"(The wisdom tooth) had been bothering me for a month," said Jackson while standing in the lobby of the Eskimos hotel in downtown Burlington yesterday.

"I went to the dentist and they told me be glad I got here when I did because my face probably would have swollen up and (I would have) been out for a couple of weeks."

That visit to the dentist came Thursday, with the tooth pulled the same day.

With that problem out of the way, the Mississippi native is ready to juke-and-jive on the football dance floor today.

"Their return guy is special," continued Stubler on Jackson.

"He did some things that I haven't seen for a while. I have been there with Giz (Henry Williams). We have to wait and see how (Jackson) does over the long haul. But he did some special things (last Thursday).

"We have to do some special things to contain him.

"We actually had a hold of him (on one return last Thursday) and spun him and did all those things. And he escaped and came out the other side and outran everybody."

Jackson's 61-yard punt return romp to the end zone last week marked his third return major this year - counting two in the pre-season.

Coming into this weekend, he had the highest punt return average - 19 yards - of any player in the CFL.

HOTTER THE BETTER

As for the heat and the humidity - which could play a factor if the roof is opened at Rogers Centre today in the expected 32 C heat if the humidity index is included - Jackson's not concerned.

"This is nothing compared to Mississippi," quipped Jackson, who is expected to be pulling double duty as a starter in the secondary.


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