DeMario Minter and Shockley watched Saturday’s Georgia Tech-Miami at Shockley’s house just hours after they had beaten Kentucky 45-13.
“He was naming some of the points of what (Johnson) was doing and how he could defend against is,” Shockley said. “Starting Saturday, DeMario was already thinking about how he could stop him.”
Miami didn’t do a very good job of it. Johnson had six catches for 89 yards against the Hurricanes. To be fair, though, nobody has stopped the 6-foot-4, 230-pound sophomore all season. Johnson leads the ACC in receiving yards (855) and is second in catches (50).
“He’s a matchup nightmare for everybody in the country,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “He just makes great plays. Just put it somewhere near him, and he’ll make the play. This kid’s body and jumping ability and speed is just a big problem for one guy to handle.”
The No. 13 Bulldogs (8-2) play No. 20 Georgia Tech (7-3) at 8 p.m. in a game that will be televised by ABC.
The circus catches that Johnson routinely makes can be confidence killer for a defensive back, said Willie Martinez, Georgia’s defensive coordinator.
“Calvin will be covered and make some unbelievable catches,” he said. “That’s what separates him from other guys. That’s another thing that is disheartening when you cover him. You’re not going to be able to stop him. You have to contain him.”
Minter has some experience against Johnson. He had primary coverage responsibility against him last year. Johnson had just five catches for 44 yards, but Minter said Johnson won the matchup since Minter was flagged for pass interference twice and defensive holding once against Johnson.
Johnson is playing even more physically this year, which could mean more flags today. Georgia’s coaches hope some of them go against Johnson.
“I don’t want to whine and cry about anything, but because he’s big, he gets away with a lot of stuff, and it looks like the defensive guy is initiating it,” Martinez said. “Hopefully, we won’t get called for stuff that maybe he should be, but that happens sometimes with big guys.”
Johnson, a preseason All-American and a candidate for the Biletnikoff Award, has five touchdown catches this season but just one in the last five games. Georgia fans hope that doesn’t mean he’s due today in Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“He’s considered one of the best in the nation,” Minter said.
“Hopefully, I can go out there and show I can be up there, too. A lot of people have tried to shut him down, but haven’t so it’ll be a big test for me, and hopefully I’ll come through.”
He admitted he’s been thinking about the matchup in the back of his mind since last season.
“Now that it’s time,” he said. “I can focus on it a lot more.”