Johnson-Koulianos Defends Character Rumors

Derrell Johnson-Koulianos' slip to No. 2 on the depth chart highlighted water cooler talk during spring practice. When he remained there heading into summer camp, interest again rose. DJK addressed some of the character-questioning rumors on Friday as reasoning for his perceived demotion. Read what the junior WR had to say in this HN.com interview transcript.

Q: Why are you No. 2 on the depth chart? You've led this team in receiving two years in a row.

Derrell Johnson-Koulianos: I'm really not sure. That's something you'd really have to ask Coach (Kirk) Ferentz. He's the one who's in charge of how that goes. Right now, what I'm doing is I'm working hard. I'm trying to have the best camp I can. I'm trying to make sure that our receiving corps as a whole has the best camp we can have. As far as whatever is on paper and what the depth chart is, I've been around here for some time now. I've been productive. I'm definitely capable. Can I be a starter? Yes. Will I be the starter? We don't know. We'll have to wait and see. It's up to the coaches to evaluate us and at the end of the day they make the decision. I'm sure it's probably the best decision for our team.

Q: Do you have an idea why you're No. 2? You must have thought about it, I would think.

DJK: I really can't be concerned with that because I've been around here and I know what it takes to be productive on this team. I understand the offense. Like I said, Coach Campbell and Coach O'Keefe and Coach Ferentz evaluate us every day. If they feel that someone else gives us the best chance to be productive and have a winning season from the receiver position, then ultimately that's their decision. All I can do is come out here and work hard and represent this university in a classy way. Do things the right way and hopefully they'll allow me to do that on the field.

Q: What do you think the coaches want from you?

DJK: They expect a lot from all of us. A lot of times, guys don't understand what it takes to be productive or stand out in a good way. A lot of times, you have to understand the environment we're in. Iowa City is a little different than Columbus, OH or Michigan. We're under a little bit of a microscope all of the time. It's not only what you do on the field. It's your behavior off the field, your social life, your academics. Coach Ferentz, he evaluates all of that. He takes that into consideration if you're going to be a guy on the field or not. It's expected. We're in a position where we represent this university and it's our responsibility to represent it in a great way. They've given us an opportunity, guys on scholarship or whatever. If you put this uniform on, no matter what you do you're being watched. So it's your responsibility to represent the Iowa name, this university, the fans and everybody who's a part of it.

Q: Do you feel like you've done that?

DJK: Absolutely.

Q: Are you more motivated this year? I don't know if the depth chart motivates you.

DJK: Am I motivated? Yeah, I am motivated more than ever – 100 percent. I'm going into my junior year. I think I'm the most experienced of the guys on our receiver corps. It's my responsibility to make sure I'm pushing the younger guys. The younger guys are definitely pushing me. Right now, it's going to be a race.

Q: Having that much talent at wide receiver, are you getting sick of hearing the depth chart controversy?

DJK: Yeah, I mean I get phone call every day from friends asking what the deal is with the depth chart. What's going one? What are you doing? There are really a lot of rumors circulating. People call me about what they're reading on the message boards and in the newspaper questioning my character or how hard I'm working and my work ethic. It's unfortunate. I'm a guy that understands what it takes to be on this team. I understand the environment that we're in here. It's a little more microscopic. There was a rumor that I was in some fight. I had no idea. I found out about it just the way the rest of the people did. It's not my responsibility to stop those rumors. I know what's going on. I know I'm working hard in this program. I know what's expected and I'm going to do my best and make sure I live by the rules.

Q: What does it feel like when people question your character?

DJK: It's really unfortunate because that's not who I am. I don't know how these things surface. But I'm a Hawkeye and I'm proud of it. If I could do it all over again, I would hope that it would end up the same way that I would be wearing these colors. I came here because of the positive energy that I got from the people and the fans and the coaches. As of late, it's really, from my standpoint, I don't understand why people are questioning those issues with me and how hard I'm working. It's a result of where I'm ranked on the depth chart. People assume that obviously there's something going on with him. He's not doing this right. That's not the case. But, you know, we have camp here and my main concern is how well I perform this camp. How well can we perform as a receiving corps? I'll leave it up to the coaches to evaluate us. Hopefully I'll be their guy. If not, obviously they're making the best decision for us. It's the coaches' decision, but I'll tell you what, it won't be because of my lack of effort or desire.

Q: So there was no conversation with you and the coaches saying you had to pick it up we need to see different things out of you?

DJK: No, there wasn't. I'm sure they have their reasons. This is their job. They're professionals. They know what it takes to motivate guys. They know what it takes to get out what they want from people. I would never question their motives. It's like you would never question a doctor's motives because you're not a doctor. They're coaches. That's what they do. They've been doing it for a long time. I would never question their decisions.


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