Fresh off a five-catch, 115-yard, two total touchdown performance during Mizzou’s win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Johnathon Johnson returned to class Monday morning.
He received a text from one of the coaches to be on the lookout for an announcement regarding the SEC Freshman of the Week honor. Five minutes later, he checked Twitter and found his good news. Johnson was named the conference’s Freshman of the Week. Though it’s a positive and vindicating for his talents on Saturday, he views it as a small step forward.
“It was kind of a goal,” Johnson said. “I don’t just think too much of it.
“I’m looking forward to like becoming a Freshman All-American.”
Johnson only had one catch for six yards the week before at West Virginia. Before Saturday’s victory against the Eagles, he said he felt different during the day, but didn’t exactly know what made him feel that way.
“I guess something clicked like, ‘It’s time to go,’” Johnson said.
On his electrifying punt return, the coaches wanted him to fall on the football after he initially muffed it. Instead, Johnson trusted his abilities and was able to make a couple defenders miss on a juke move and blazed his way across the field en route to a 52-yard touchdown return, which was the Tigers’ first since Marcus Murphy took it to the house against Florida in 2014.
Though Johnson didn’t have much reaction to his award, Barry Odom brought it up in his opening statement to the media Monday.
“I’m happy for him and excited for our team to have that recognition,” Odom said. “I felt like last year he could have played for us but had the ankle injury, so seeing him come back and do some of the things that he’s already started to do this season, provides a great opportunity to our team.”
Johnson’s explosiveness has earned him the right to potentially start against Georgia this Saturday. Once again he’s listed as an “OR” starter along with Chris Black and Ray Wingo.
Speaking of Wingo, who also had a breakout performance Saturday, Johnson said that Wingo is faster than him and isn’t going to bother racing him to prove it.
“I wouldn’t race him,” Johnson said. “Before I hurt my ankle I would.
“I just always think I’m slow.”
Johnathon Johnson - so fast you'll freak pic.twitter.com/56RACDA1c8— Jack Peglow (@JackPeglow) September 12, 2016
Lock’s jersey is clean
It’s probably a good idea to wash it anyway before the next game, but there shouldn’t be any bits of turf in Drew Lock’s jersey.
Through two games, Lock has only been hit once. That’s impressive considering the offensive line had a total of three starts returning. The line has gelled together and has done a good job of protecting its quarterback.
So much so that Lock has been taking the unit out to dinner every Sunday. Last night, he took the line to Cheddar’s which, according to Paul Adams, has really good catfish. Lock said the total bill was “in the hundreds.” Though expensive, it’s clear that there’s a good relationship between Lock and his line. That only adds to the pride the line takes in protecting him.
“He’s reading defenses and his pocket awareness has improved,” Odom said. “There is a calm about him.”
Being able to drop back and make all of the throws is an obvious reason why he feels so calm.
A wiser player
Lock didn’t have a great game against Georgia last season. Well, no one on the offense really did. To be fair, that was his first start on the road and there’s not too many more raucous environments than Between the Hedges in Athens, Georgia.
He’s thought about that October night and acknowledges that he wasn’t at the best of his abilities then, but thinks the tough experience has prepared him to face the Bulldogs again this year.
“I was 18 playing at Athens with an offense I didn’t necessarily know,” Lock said. “This year, I’m only a year older but it feels like I’m a lot older.
“It was an eye-opener for me, which I needed it. I’ve said so many times that I’m glad that it could have happened last year so I can learn from it this year.”
450 yards and five touchdowns isn’t totally out of the question, but that kind of success will likely be more of a challenge to achieve this week. But coming off a near-record setting week, for Lock, there couldn’t be a better time to play one of the better teams in the SEC than right now.