Senior RB Ready To Carry The Load
Southern Miss participated in a rare Monday practice during game week because of the threatening weather from Hurricane Issac on the way. The team was able to get in some good work this afternoon despite not knowing what lies ahead. "We all came out today and just decided we were going to focus on football alone," senior running back Desmond Johnson said in a post practice interview with GoldenEaglePride.com. "We have a big game to get ready for, and we are not going to talk about the weather. We'll do what we have to do to get ready. It is not an excuse for us." Johnson knows the importance of this week as his team prepares to go into a hostile environment. "We were crisp today, and the offense really played fast," he said. "Everyone is anxious to get to that first game, we are ready to play. "The running game has really been improving over the past few weeks. We feel real good about where we are and what we can do even against a great defense." Johnson provides a steady hand and leadership at the running back position which is so key for the Eagles at this time. "I know that I need to lead us well and motivate everyone on every snap," he said. "I know I need to carry the load and lead the way. "With me, Jeremy, and the two freshmen ready to go, I feel like we can really help them out a lot and we have to take some of the pressure off of the QB's." Speaking of the QB's, Desmond feels confident whoever is in there will be able to get the job done. "We worked a lot on pass protection today," he said. "We know they are going to come after us and we worked on picking it up and making the right reads. We also have been working on getting the ball to us in space by swinging it out to us. "I expect to catch a lot more passes this year in this offense." Johnson said the talent of Nebraska is evident on film. "Man, they are a great team and they have so many good players up front," he said. "They make their reads well and don't leave many open lanes. I think our offensive line is up for the challenge. We've studied them a lot, and man they are really good in the box." Johnson has played in a lot of big games, and as a senior, wants to start this year off right. "I have been here before and know the pressure of playing in front of a big crowd," he said. "We have to just make the plays we know we can make and stay under control. We'll be ready." The Eagles are uncertain about how the next few days of practice will go with the weather situation. They do travel up to Lincoln Friday, and will have to take a NCAA mandated off day one day this week.