Duck's Johnson emerges as threat

Jeremiah Johnson served notice to opposing teams last weekend, returning a kickoff for a touchdown with great vision and a burst of speed. Between Johnson and teammate Jonathan Stewart, the Ducks have two legitimate kick off returners, each capable of taking it to the house.

Last Saturday, August 19, 2006 the Oregon Ducks held a scrimmage and practice open to the public. While the offense wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders, the kick-off return team looked to be in good hands.

There is no mystery to what one half of that team can do: Jonathan Stewart lead the nation last year as a true freshman with an average of 35 yards per return and two touchdowns. Duck fans will likely not soon forget Stewart taking his first kick return all the way back for an 83-yard touchdown run in the second game of the 2005 campaign against Montana.

Clearly, teams with any sense will kick away from Stewart this year. Right? Not if Jeremiah Johnson has anything to say about the matter. Johnson served notice a week ago that he too will be a factor in the kick return game. eDuck photographer Chris Wilson captured the follow sequence of shots as Johnson made what Duck fans hope will be the first of many trips to the endzone on a kick off return.

(PHOTO BELOW) Johnson (24) starts off heading to his right, as his blockers set up in front of him...

(PHOTO BELOW)...seeing an opening, Johnson cuts back to his left, bursting through a hole at about the 35 yard line...

(PHOTO BELOW)...cutting all the way back across the field, Johnson outruns Brian Butterfield (23) at about the 50 yard line...

(PHOTO BELOW)...and there he goes, with not a defender in sight galloping into the endzone to the applause of the small but enthusiastic crowd on hand. Here's to more of the same once the season starts.

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