Robert Johnson: Ready to Play WR

Robert Johnson didn't hang his head Tuesday on his first day at flanker. The Arkansas junior went to work to help his team.

Robert Johnson didn't hurt himself in the eyes of his teammates or the media with the way he handled his demotion as the starting quarterback or the move to flanker.

The junior from Waco, Texas was all class after practice Tuesday and handled every media request before leaving the practice field, the last Razorback to the locker room.

"He's a great example for everyone on our team," said Gus Malzahn, offensive coordinator and Johnson's new coach at wide receiver. "He does more than play on the field. He's a great example to our players on and off the field. I'll tell you this; he's in our plans this week at flanker and I expect him to play well."

Johnson said he had an "inkling" that his time as the starting quarterback was over as he watched Mitch Mustain take the Hogs for a touchdown drive in the closing minutes of the Southern Cal loss.

"I had a gut feeling, an inkling, yes," Johnson said Tuesday. "I got that feeling while watching that drive. I'd be lying if I said otherwise. I had it inside and it was not good.

"I knew what might happen after watching that touchdown drive."

Johnson said he was told of the decision to move both Mustain and Casey Dick ahead of him at quarterback on Sunday by head coach Houston Nutt and presented two options.

"I could stay at quarterback and be third," Johnson said. "I knew how much (practice) the third team quarterback was going to get. The other option was to move to wide receiver and get to play. I really didn't want to leave quarterback, but I knew to play this was the best option.

"I was disappointed the last two days, but I went out there today and tried to put it behind me and have fun with my new position.

"Quarterback is a hard job with a lot of pressure. I found that out last year and again this year. Much of the time, I felt like it didn't matter what I did, that it wouldn't be viewed as good or right. I thought people saw me as not doing anything right. That was frustrating.

"All of this has made me grow up a lot. My teammates picked me up the last couple of days. They have encouraged me.

"This hurts a lot, thought. I had to deal with this last year and now again this year. I am just going to go out there and play flanker as good as I can and try to help this team win.

"I think it's a case of still having to get a lot of the small things down. I do know the plays, the checks and the reads. But it's different when you are a wideout. I'm just going to try to have fun and do what I can to help. I'm glad that I'll have a chance to contribute.

"It's a tough position when you are the quarterback for the state of Arkansas and that's what this position is. It's full of pressure. I can say I understand that totally. I'm just trying to keep my head up and keep working."

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