"I've been given more opportunity there (in the return game) than at receiver, I think," claimed Terry Richardson in response to why he brings more to the table as a specialist versus being a wideout. "I haven't had my best game yet as a receiver or a returner. I do feel I'm a better receiver than I am a returner. For some reason, it's always something (in the receiving game) and one thing has led to the other. I really can't blame anybody. The attempts are out there, but the completions aren't."
He doesn't know the reasons for his own struggles in the passing game, which have manifested by the fact that he has caught just five passes in 2006. He is however adamant about him dropping balls and running poor routes. "I don't think I drop balls or run my routes slow," remarked Richardson. "I think I run my routes faster than all the receivers, if you ask them. I am a better receiver than I am a returner."
His tips to a successful kick or punt return may sound simple and pragmatic in nature, but who are we to disagree with one of the best return specialists in the country? "Don't think twice," said Richardson, "catch the ball and just run. Go with what you see and don't try to make too much happen, and the rest will take care of itself. It's more mental than it is physical." Due to his success in this role the senior feels that his returns have started to be overanalyzed by ASU's opponents. Consequently, they're more worried about containment, which can adversely affect their tackling.
The 100-yard kickoff for return for a touchdown by Richardson was the lone highlight for ASU in their lopsided loss to Oregon. It did very little to cheer up the wide receiver's mood. "I don't really pay much attention to it," he claimed concerning his feat. "When the season is over, I look at it more…it was a good feeling. I was just trying to get something started coming out of halftime."
Richardson is naturally disappointed that his own struggles, as well as the team's ones, are taking place during his senior year. "Yeah it has been stressful and all I can do is finish strong," he noted. "It's been a slow start and hopefully we can turn it around.
We're practicing better, and our timing is a little bit better. Rudy (Carpenter) is getting us the ball and that's probably the biggest difference out there – (Rudy) delivering the ball early."
Speaking of the signal caller, he shares a house with Richardson, a fact that has obviously helped the chemistry between the two. During this two-game losing streak, the mood at this residence was not one of constant moping or heated discussions between the two. Ultimately, the on-field struggles didn't make their way into this household.
"We've been all right, we've been cool," said Richardson. "He's on his side of the house and I'm on my side. We meet in the kitchen when we get a snack, we talk a little bit…it's cool."
"It helps a lot," said Richardson about the Chemistry between him and his housemate. "I get to see what he's thinking, what's going on in his head, what he wants to accomplish, what he will do differently."
For Richardson, the Bye weekend was spent back home in Southern California enjoying Mom's home cooking. It was a relaxing getaway, yet it was devoted in large to the pigskin. "I was watching the games in my LayZBoy, just relaxing," said Richardson. "I think I watched every game that came on." One contest he surely watched was USC's close win, 26-20, over Washington last Saturday. "They're beatable," he said of the Trojans. "They got a younger team, and they're gonna get beat sooner or later this year. They're making too many big mistakes…we just have to be on our game and be the ones to beat them…we're gonna come with a lot of energy and give them everything we got."
The Best is Yet to Come From Richardson
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