Golden Does Not Feel Tarnished

OK Sun Devil fans, if someone reading this article never criticized cornerback Josh Golden more than a dozen times already this season, please step forward…that's what we thought. Nevertheless, even though the junior is very aware of his whipping boy image, he chooses to take it in stride, even laugh about it, and continue to produce like he did last week against Stanford to silence the critics.

"I want to see all those plays I get burned on," said Josh Golden with a wide grin. "I don't understand half the time where that stuff comes from. But it's all right. Cornerback is a position where you're gonna get beat. You just have to forget about it and move on to the next play. It was nice to get two picks and keep everyone quiet for a week." In reality Golden is having a fine season leading all corners with 40 tackles, which is also good for fifth overall on the team.

Being a cornerback in arguably the best passing conference in college football is thankless enough of a job. When you add the fact that you play on the proverbial football island, this gives more ample opportunity for your game to be heavily scrutinized. "That's how it is being on an island, we don't get much help," Golden explained. "We play a lot of man-to-man. Other teams play zone, and keep the corners from covering (man-to-man). You're gonna give up plays, but you want to make sure that you don't give up the big play. One week they (the fans) love you and the other week they hate you. It's all good. We'll see what happens this week. Hopefully I'll keep everyone quiet for one more week (smile)."

And keeping the critics at bay is exactly what he did last week. Both of his interceptions led to subsequent ASU scoring drives, with the later taking place right before halftime giving Andrew Walter the all-time Pac-10 record for total touchdown passes. "As far as interceptions it was my best game," said Golden. "I didn't have many tackles, but I got my first interception since my freshman year…I did practice well all week, and told the coaches before the game that I'm gonna get one (interception), and I got two so that's even better (smile). I hope I have the same feeling this Saturday."

All year, Golden was also amused by the perception some have that he's picked on more by opposing signal callers than fellow corner Chris McKenzie. "I don't feel like that, because they (opponents) throw each of our ways," claimed Golden. "Somehow my name gets thrown in there…but it's all good. I'll go back to the film and rewind it, and see how many catches they had on me and how many they had on him. We'll see who's right and who's wrong (smile)."

One's misfortune is another's good luck, and Golden endured many mixed emotions when another fellow corner. R.J. Oliver was lost to a season ending injury in fall camp. "When R.J. went down my heart just dropped because I felt so bad for him," Golden Recalled. "But at the same time it was an opportunity for me. R.J. is a good friend, and he told me to go out there and do what I do. It still kills me to think about what happened. It sucks because it was his senior year and he worked his tail off."

The junior admitted that his starter status did cause him to step it up a bit more in practice. All this under the watchful eye of first year cornerbacks coach Mark Carrier. Golden knows that his coach doesn't only talk the talk, but can also still walk the walk and effectively demonstrate his teachings. "He still has the hips, he has it all," said Golden of his coach. "He can cover anyone here pretty easily. I don't know about his 40-time; it may be suspect (smile). He can move but I can get him in the 40 no problem."

A nagging cramping condition has hampered the corner in the last couple of years. Golden feels like the worse is behind him. At least until fall of next year. "It seems like every year the first three or four games, it's just so hot here that my body cramps," he said. "I'll probably have to get IV's before the game or something like that. I haven't had a cramp in a while." To remedy this condition, the junior consumes Gatorade and an electrolyte mix that is basically composed of salt. "Because I deplete a lot of salt when I sweat. I don't drink any water because it pushes the salt out."

Even though his next opponent, Washington State, is having less than a stellar year, Golden said that taking them lightly hasn't even crossed the minds of the Sun Devils. "They got a good team and we respect every opponent we play," he stated. "The quarterback is young, so hopefully we can take advantage of that. They have one receiver (Jason Hill) that's doing real well. Otherwise they have good receivers, like any Pac-10 team out there, and you have to play well to stop them."

Much has been said about the effects of the high emotions that will be part of this week's contest. Specifically, the honoring of the seniors prior to the game and the retirement of Pat Tillman's jersey at halftime. Golden claimed that these events shouldn't have any adverse effect. "If anything, it's a motivator, " he said. "It's the last home game for a lot of people and we want to go undefeated in our house, and let our seniors leave with something special. We're not trying to make this close. We want to put this one away and get some other people on the field, but that's what we tried to do last week and it turned out to be closer than we wanted. But this week it won't be distraction."

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