UM notebook

UM running back Duke Johnson responds to heavy workload

 
 
University of Miami running back Duke Johnson attempts to outrun University of Florida defenders in the fourth quarter of their game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sept. 7, 2013.
University of Miami running back Duke Johnson attempts to outrun University of Florida defenders in the fourth quarter of their game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sept. 7, 2013.
Al Diaz / Staff Photo

sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com

One player who continues to impress his coaches is tailback Duke Johnson.

Despite fumbling three times the past two weeks, Johnson is proving he’s more than just an occasional big-play guy. Johnson can grind out the tough yards as well.

For the first time in Johnson’s UM career, he was given five consecutive carries in two separate drives — one after the other — last Saturday against Georgia Tech.

Johnson ran for 184 yards on 22 carries and had 325 all-purpose yards.

At one point Johnson’s tough runs, including a first down on third-and-3, set up UM’s touchdown that put the Canes up 31-23.

“I really thought he hit the holes hard,’’ coach Al Golden said. “He wasn’t really dancing until he got to the second and third levels. His yards after contact were phenomenal. Really proud of his effort and the way he lowered his pads, the way he stayed on track. …He kept cramming it in there right where it was supposed to go and not freelancing, and because of it some big ones opened up for him.

“Maybe that’s the first time in his career that it was Duke time.”

•  The Canes, who don’t play this weekend, were back on the practice field Tuesday; although access is closed this week to the media.

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