Johnson Has Opponents Singing the Blues

While there has been no talk of a "deal with the devil" out on a Mississippi delta crossroads, Mississippi State standout receiver Robert Johnson is handing out his own style of blues. Part of a deep corps of Bulldog passing targets, Johnson is coming up clutch when the Bulldogs need to move the chains.

Sixteen different Bulldogs have reeled in passes this fall, eight of them have been players under the direction of Mississippi State receivers' coach Billy Gonzales.

Johnson reports that "Coach G" has the Bulldog pass catchers performing at a high level.

"You know it all started when he got here," Johnson said of Gonzales. "He nailed everything down for us.

"He has worked us hard with repetitions and he is pushing us to be a better group. He used to say 'Why, not us?' and we've taken that to heart.

"We are playing with that now in our hearts."

Gonzales had great success at Florida and LSU putting several wide outs into the NFL. Johnson believes that his position coach is developing the Mississippi State pass catchers in the same mold.

"We think we're one of the best receiver groups in the SEC," said Johnson. "Coach G has pushed us all to be ready to make the play when our number has been called."

Over the course of the last two SEC games, Johnson has extended drives with a pair of toe touching grabs on the sidelines. The Oak Grove High product reports that he has worked hard all year to put himself in a position to make those plays.

"I have worked on that a lot," said Johnson of tip toeing along the sidelines. "I haven't had too many cases to showcase it, but it's opened up for me the last couple of games.

"Dak (Prescott) and I worked on those situations all summer. Now it's all coming into play and we're comfortable with each other, because of all of that work we put in during the summer.

"I like being able to make the play along the sidelines. I can't say that I can always control it, but I wear a size 15. These feet aren't going to stay in the air too long."

In addition to being a player who can make plays in tight quarters, Johnson has developed into one of the more reliable Bulldog blockers out on the perimeter.

"The first thing that Coach G said when he got here is that we have to take pride in blocking," said Johnson. "If you don't block, then he won't play you.

"He taught me that you don't block with your hands, but you block with your feet. There are just some little techniques that he teaches us that just helps us develop all of those things you need to be successful."

Johnson hopes to display his skills this Saturday when Arkansas comes to town in the first home game in Mississippi State history where the Bulldogs were ranked #1.

"Arkansas runs pretty much the same defense that they did last year," said Johnson. "It's almost like the same defense we run, so it's not like something we haven't seen.

"The do some funky things every now and again. On 3rd down, they like to play man."

The Bulldogs are the SEC's lone unbeaten and a consensus #1 in every major poll. Johnson reports that he originally chose Mississippi State because he believed in Dan Mullen's vision for the program.

"One of the main reasons I came here is because I believed in what he was trying to build," said Johnson of Mullen. "The first time he came to my house he told me that we were going to win a championship and I believed him.

"He wanted to get the best players in Mississippi to come to Mississippi State together and compete for a championship.

"I know we're in a good position right now.

"We just have to take it one game at a time and then we'll see how things go. I know if I was a recruit out there today, I would come to Mississippi State, because Mississippi State is going to be good for a long period of time."


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