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UMass football fall camp: Minutemen look for Robert Kitching to anchor defensive line -

Monday, August 31, 2015

Closing arguments delivered in Adam Liccardi rape trial -

Monday, August 31, 2015

Early goals sink UMass men’s soccer in loss to Saint Peter’s -

Monday, August 31, 2015

UMass field hockey splits weekend matches with UNH and BU -

Sunday, August 30, 2015

UMass women’s soccer struck by injuries, struggles offensively as it falls to No. 24 Rutgers -

Sunday, August 30, 2015

UMass men’s soccer drops season opener to Utah Valley in overtime -

Friday, August 28, 2015

UMass football notebook: Jackson Porter moves to WR, UMass schedules 2016 game with South Carolina -

Friday, August 28, 2015

Former UMass student who accused four men of rape in 2012 testifies during trial Friday -

Friday, August 28, 2015

REPORT: UMass football’s Da’Sean Downey faces two assault charges in connection with February fight -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football Media Day: Catching up with Joe Colton -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Creating turnovers, forcing mistakes the focus for linebacking corps -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jurors hear police interview, read text messages by defendants in third UMass rape trial -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

‘Living at UMass’ app aims to make move-in weekend a breeze -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Jamal Wilson returns from injury with confidence he is ‘main guy’ at running back -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Freshmen Sekai Lindsay, Andy Isabella impressing at running back -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass ranked in top 25 for LGBTQ students -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass football fall camp day five: Rodney Mills looks to continue bringing versatility to tight end position -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Route 9 Diner to reopen under new ownership -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rising UMass sophomore dies unexpectedly -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Where on Earth is Chris Johnson?

Courtesy of MVN

Coming into the 2011 NFL season, one of the biggest debates was who is the best running back in the NFL? Generally speaking there were two responses. The first was Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. The other was Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans. Eight weeks into the season, the unanimous choice would likely be Peterson.

After a record-setting season in 2009, in which Johnson was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year and became the sixth player in the NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards, CJ2K, as he was dubbed that year, has now become CJmaybe1K.

A few highlights from that historic season included him surpassing Marshall Faulk’s record of yards from scrimmage in a season, with 2,509. He also managed to rack up an improbable streak of 11 straight games with more than 100 rushing yards, tallying up 5.6 yards per carry for the year. Perhaps more impressive than anything were his three touchdown runs of more than 85 yards. To put it into perspective, no other player in NFL history has done that over the duration of their entire career, let alone in one season.

Flash forward to 2011. After holding out for the entirety of training camp and the preseason for a new contract, CJ2K got his wish and signed a four-year, $53.5 million extension, becoming the highest paid running back in NFL history. Now, one would expect with greater monetary gain, comes greater production. It must be acknowledged that it is extremely hard to surpass anything Johnson did in ’09, given that many people denote that season as the best ever by a running back. However, after seven games, Johnson has limped and crawled out of the gate to a measly 2.8 yards per carry average, and an equally embarrassing 302 yards for the season. Johnson has also amassed at least nine rushing scores in each of his three seasons, but has only found paydirt once in 2011.

Many attribute Johnson’s painfully slow start to his lack of training camp and preseason, saying that he merely needs to get his legs under him. Johnson is a fitness freak and many around him say Johnson did everything he could, and then some, in order to be ready to report back to the team. The argument that he’s lost a step is also void, because after recording the fastest ever 40-yard-dash coming out of college with a 4:24, Johnson is still only 26 years old and should be hitting the prime of his career. Lost speed shouldn’t be a factor, especially for perhaps the fastest man the NFL has ever bore witness to. Experts claim that it seems Johnson has become more hesitant in his approach, and waits longer to find a gap to explode through, rather than hitting whatever hole is given to him and using his abilities to do the rest. Others claim it’s a shoddy offensive-line in Tennessee, which has struggled to mesh as a group all season. However, Matt Hasselbeck, who is a far more conventional quarterback than the likes of Vince Young, that has provided ample opportunity for Johnson. Hasselbeck allows for a reliable passing attack, which should take the load and focus off of Johnson, thus enabling him more open space when he gets his touches.

Whatever the cause may be, CJ has seen his production dip drastically this season. Most seem to believe that Johnson is a worldly talent who can’t be kept down forever, especially since this is only his fourth season as a pro. Until then, we will eagerly await for CJ2K to bounce back to form and continue embarrassing defenses like we’re used to seeing him do.

Tyler Galicia can be reached for comment at tgalicia@student.umass.edu.

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