Countdown to Kick-off: USF WR Taurus Johnson

With the 2008 USF football season right around the corner, USFNation got a chance to talk with several annointed leaders of the Bulls. In today's excusive interview, senior receiver T.J. Johnson talks about the receiving unit, unfinished business, and getting ready for the upcoming season. Only on Get it First, Get it Fast!

Taurus Johnson Profile



What's it been like heading into your senior season as a Bull?

"Everything is going pretty good right now. We've been doing some extra work on the field, 7-on-7's, and in the weight room, and we're looking good. As far as myself, I'm fully healthy, healed, and back to 100 percent. I'm ready, and ready to start the season."


Has the time gone by fast for you since you first arrived on campus?

"Its gone by very fast, I remember when I first got here, Andre Hall, was here Terrence Royal Johnnie Jones, and now when Amarri left it was just me and Marcus, and we were saying how quick it went by. That's why this year we got to make special."


Are you becoming one of the leaders on the team?

 "Yes sir, definitely. They are looking at me as a leader, on both the receiving unit, and on the field in general. The guys that have been there know what to do, but I still try to help them, and I'm just trying to talk to the young guys. Let them know it's not going to be easy coming in here, but let them know I'm here to help them on the field, in the weight room, and in the classroom."


Do you find yourself being a teacher to the younger guys?

"We try and teach them as much as we can. Telling them they need to go to class, they need to show up to work-outs, 7-on-7's, meetings, show up to everything, and be on time. If not Coach Canales is going to run us or some type of punishment, but I think the young guys got it down, they're doing pretty good."


What's the biggest difference in the receiving unit this year from the last?

"We have a lot more speed, and a lot more depth in every position. All our receivers are good, and from top to bottom, the receiving unit is looking probably the best I've seen, since I've been here." 


As a senior, what's the biggest change you've made personally ?

"The biggest change I've made is becoming more of a leader on the team. The coaches are looking at me to be that guy. They were counting on me last year, but unfortunately I got hurt and missed some games. This year they are counting on me to be a leader on the field and off, and I'm up to the challenge."


Do you think you were 100 percent when you returned from injury?

"No I wasn't fully healthy, and I was still hurting. They needed me, coaches and the players. So I came back and did what I could for the team, and get them where they needed to be. They respect that."


With the way last season turned out do you have unfinished business from last year?

"Oh yeah, I'm definitely trying to go in it with a mean streak this year. Trying to go in there and catch every ball that I can. Make every play, block, what ever they need me to do. In my senior year I'm going in with a purpose, and trying to do the best that I can. This is my last year, so I'm trying to go all out."


How has Coach Canales helped the receiver unit since he's arrived?

"He's helped the entire unit in so many ways. Since he first got here he starting teaching us moves. Before Arizona he also coached for the Jets and brought some of those tips over and showed us things we've never seen before. He taught us how to read coverage's more, and recognize when the blitz comes or they drop into different coverage's. Coach Canales man, he knows it all, he's the best receivers coach I've ever had."


What was it like going through your last spring practice and spring game? 

"It was tough going through my last spring giving it all I got. I know I did pretty good during the spring and improved a lot especially my blocking, it's getting pretty good. Going through my last spring as a Bull brings back a lot of memories. I remember my first year out there I didn't know what to expect, but before you know it the four years goes by pretty fast. 


How are you physically going into the summer?

"I'm great. I weighed in at 207, and I'm benching 340, power clean 300, and squatting 475.  I'm stronger, and a whole lot faster, and a little quicker too. I'm just getting where I need to be for the season right now."


Do you guys have a new saying or is it still "Who's got the juice?"

"I think Coach Canales is going to keep it the same. It's going to be a tradition for the wide receivers.  When he brought that in, it gave us a swagger and brought the receiver unit up to a whole other level. I think we're going to keep it."


Do you guys pay attention to rankings?

"Coach Leavitt always says they can rank us as high or as low as they want, but we just go to go out there and play one game at a time. Our team doesn't want to take anything to our heads. Everybody will have their opinions about our team. We just got to go out there and work hard and play our game."


Do you use what happened last season to drive you this year?

"Definitely, last season during the three games that we lost, the receiver unit bumped down a bit, but each game we kept trying to push to that next level. Coach Canales always says no matter what we got to keep pushing to get to that next level, and we use that for this year. We got something to prove, and were that unit to watch out for. Not just me but everyone."


What new guys have impressed you out there?

"We have a new kid Jeffrey Wilson who plays on the outside. You might have seen him in the spring game. He's impressed the coaches, and definitely has impressed me out there. Also Wilkinson, number 84 he's done some good things. But I tell you what A.J. love is looking real good, so is Marcus, all the receivers are really looking good. everyone. Carlton, Jessie, Dontavia Bogan, Patrick Richardson, Hamrick. We have a lot of good receivers."


How much extra work does the quarterbacks and receivers go through to get in rhythm?

"We're out here every day throwing and working on our timing, getting our routes down better, getting the plays down. The quarterbacks and receivers are looking good, and every day we're working harder to be better. Grothe, Gregory, Voss, we're all helping each other every day. It takes time, and we're all trying to get on that same page, but the more practice and more throwing and catching we do, we'll be more together as one."


As a unit what do you guys want to accomplish?

"We want to be the best unit that we can be. As far as in the nation how ever they rate us, we just want to be the best. Coach Canales always tells us, expect the best. There's always going to be people that are going to say things and criticize us and we just got to take that and let it motivate us. We are strong group. We all stick together and hang out together, and try to keep each other up on the field, in the weight room, and in the class room, whatever. We want to be the best in the nation. Not the top five or the top ten, the best."


Does the time go by slow or fast for you this time of the year?

"Man, two-a-days are right around the corner and then the season is here. So we're trying to get as prepared as we can right now, but I'm ready. I'm anxious to get in pads"


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