UCLA football: Receiver Josh Smith shows bounce-back ability
UCLA wide receiver Josh Smith went over the middle and extended his body to the limit, making a two-handed catch during practice Monday morning. Later, he did the same on a sideline route, snagging the ball while keeping his feet in bounds.
A little room-and-board in the doghouse does wonders sometimes.
Last week, Smith was told to go stand in the back after a mental mistake and a couple of dropped passes. It was culmination of two days of drops by receivers that left offensive coordinator-wide receiver coach Mike Johnson seething.
Smith, and others, seemed to have received the message.
“There are a lot of feelings you have when it first happens,” Smith said of being held out of practice. “Like, ‘other guys are doing things and you never throw them out of practice.’ Then you realize none of that stuff is the real issue. What I needed to do was to show I could have a rough day and put it behind me the next day.”
“There are enough things that the enemy is going to do trying to affect you, you don’t want to let things within your own team start to affect you,” Smith said. “At the end of the day, [Coach Johnson] is not my opponent. He’s with me.”
The sticky-finger play of receivers Notre Dame transfer Shaquelle Evans and freshman Devin Lucien last week set the bar high.
“Our performance was just a little bit unacceptable,” sophomore receiver Ricky Marvray said. “You can’t drop 27 balls in a matter of a few days. They were on us in meetings. A little fear goes a long way. Since then we have improved dramatically.”
Marvray doesn’t want much … just the ball.
“If I could, I would do punt returns, kickoff returns, play quarterback, running back, receiver,” Marvray said. “I would do everything I could to have the ball in my hands.”
Marvray had 20 receptions for 188 yards last season. He also averaged a team-high 23.4 yards on kickoff returns.
“I’m way more confident in my game this year,” Marvray said. Last year, I was still learning the offense in certain sense. I feel I have it mastered now. I’m kind of considered a veteran, coaches look to me to teach some new guys play.”
-- Chris Foster
Photo: Josh Smith in 2010. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times