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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 13, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Johnson looking for bounceback weekend

Washington receiver James Johnson freely admitted it — Saturday was probably the worst game of his young Husky career.
The true freshman from Valley Center, Calif., had made it look so easy in his first five college games, catching a TD pass on the first series he ever played against LSU and then making seven catches in the win over USC.
But his production has dropped since then with just six catches in the last three games and only one against Arizona for 10 yards. Worse, he had two drops against the Wildcats late in the game. One at least turned into a bit of a positive — if painfully — when he was hit hard after the whistle by Arizona’s Vuna Tuihalamaka. That resulted in a personal foul that set up a 25-yard Jake Locker TD pass to Kavario Middleton that cut UA’s lead to 33-28, and helped set the stage for the miracle ending.
“It actually wasn’t that bad,” Johnson said of the hit. “It gave me a little headache real fast but when I got up everything was fine. …
“I saw him lower his head so in a way I was kind of ready for it, but my body wasn’t — it was like my mind was ready but my body wasn’t. He came over to meet me after the game and apologized and asked me how I was and I said I was fine. It was just playing football.”
What hurt worse was living with the drops, something that hadn’t really happened to Johnson in his previous five games.
“It was just really hard to explain,” he said Monday. “I kind of started looking around after the first one and I guess you could say my confidence was shifted a little after that because I usually don’t do that. It was tough after the game mentally to deal with — I really couldn’t believe that it happened. But the 24-hour rule was in effect and I let it go and I’m ready to hit this week running.”
Johnson hurt his shoulder a couple of weeks ago in practice, the same one that caused him to miss a few days during camp, but he said it’s fine now and not an issue. “Nothing is falling off, so I’m good,” he said.
He also said he doesn’t think opponents are paying more attention to him after his fast start, though that seems logical to assume.
“I think honestly, everything seems the same,” he said. “What I watch on film is what I usually get in the game. Sometimes right now maybe things happen in a game to where Jake can’t look my way and I’m just not able to make as many plays as I was before.”
Johnson, though, sounds ready to handle the first bump in his college career with the above-his-years mentality that got him on the field so quickly in the first place.
“It’s going to be a challenge for me — how do I respond?” he said. “I think that’s a question that a lot of people have for me right now. (Will I) be a freshman and keep that stuff in the back of my mind, or let it go? And my plan is to let it go and just keep making plays and get back on the grind this week and go out and the routes I ran, the balls I dropped, we’ll run those routes extra. The drops that I did have, I’ve just got to look past that stuff and get ready for next week.”

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