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Why Larry Johnson Always Finishes His Runs

Posted by Matt Terl on May 11, 2010 – 11:24 am

One of the things I noticed during this latest mini-camp (and tweeted about, actually) was that Larry Johnson always finishes his runs in the end zone. Most guys, once they’ve gotten through the scripted portion of the play and into the open field (so to speak), will run a little bit before pulling up. Sometimes there’ll be a bit of a run for the goal line — Clinton Portis seems to enjoy doing this while whooping and hollering every so often — but it’s usually not at full practice speed, let alone full game speed.

Johnson, though, puts his head down and really runs.

“Dick Vermeil taught us that,” Johnson told me, “and it kinda stuck with me. James Saxon was my first running backs coach when I got into the league, and that’s what the expectation [was]. Coming behind Priest [Holmes], he finished EVERY run. So I think that kind of fed off to me that that’s what we had to do when we practiced was finish every run.”

I was wrong about one thing, though:

He doesn’t head to the end zone every time, at least not here.

“We used to finish all the way to the end zone no matter where we were on the field,” he explained. “So this was kinda new to me that they only want us to go 40 yards. I think that, there being a lot of guys out here, you don’t get a lot of conditioning [by] doing it every single play. So you’ve gotta make the best of it and try to go hard as you can every single time you’re out there.”

There’s no particular significance to forty yards — “It’s just a good distance,” Johnson said, “everybody runs a 40-yard dash.” I guess the offense was lined up inside the 40 a fair bit, though, because I could swear I kept seeing Johnson in the end zone.

Johnson was also asked about growing up a Redskins fan, and in the course of that discussion he noted how, “My dad used to take me to Redskins camp when I was little.” On the Saturday of this second mini-camp, Johnson was able to return the favor, having his dad in to observe the mini-camp. Megan Imbert of Redskins Broadcast Network was able to catch up with Larry Johnson, Sr., for a couple of questions about watching his son practice with the Redskins.


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