Bump on road put Huskies' D'Andre Goodwin at back of pack
Huskies senior receiver D'Andre Goodwin caught 60 passes in 2008 but injuries are forcing him to fight for playing time now.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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While happy that the team played better a year ago, 2009 was mostly a season to forget for Washington receiver D'Andre Goodwin.
And it literally was when it comes to the one moment that may best symbolize his lost year — a crunching, sandwiching midair hit by two Notre Dame defensive backs as Goodwin reached to grab a pass on the last play of the game.
Goodwin couldn't hold on as UW lost in overtime, plus he suffered a concussion in the process.
There was no fear in returning to the field a couple weeks later, however.
"The best part about it is you don't feel anything, you don't remember anything," Goodwin said. He has no memory of the hit other than what he's seen on video. "There's nothing to be afraid of."
When it comes to 2010, however, Goodwin is hoping to have nothing to regret.
Due in part to a hamstring injury suffered in the spring that slowed him early, and then the concussion against Notre Dame, Goodwin saw his production plummet in 2009.
After making 60 catches in 2008 when he served as one of the lone highlights in UW's 0-12 season — the most catches by any UW receiver other than Reggie Williams since 1998 and tied for sixth in school history — he caught just 14 last season, and only three in the last six games.
Goodwin says a major factor is that he was never really 100 percent, first dealing with the hamstring that first crept up in the spring — "there was a lot of mental issues trying to run full speed on it" — and then the concussion.
As he sat on the sideline, younger players such as Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar and James Johnson emerged as UW's top receiving threats.
"The bottom line is, he went through some tough times," said receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty, who, like the rest of Steve Sarkisian's staff, arrived last year and never really saw a healthy Goodwin. "He did have a couple of days where he was facing that Y in the road — which way do I go here? You could see it was all over his face."
Goodwin ultimately picked the path of redemption, deciding to throw everything he had into getting his troublesome hamstring, as well as his entire body, into optimum shape.
"I just feel like maybe I thought I was working harder (in previous years) than I really was, and then when I had someone to get on me and tell me I can work harder, I realized I could," he said.
Said Dougherty: "To his credit, he hasn't given up, he hasn't gotten discouraged. That's why he has really gained our respect as a coaching staff because he's just really battled through it and shown a lot of character. He's had a great summer, and now he's having a great fall camp."
Indeed, through three days, seeing Goodwin fly around the field without abandon has been one of many bright spots for a team that seems on the verge of a revival.
On paper, Goodwin is competing for the fourth receiver spot behind Kearse, Aguilar and Johnson, who look to have the top three spots sewn up. But there's stiff competition for the backup spots as well, with the likes of holdovers Jordan Polk and Cody Bruns and promising freshman Kevin Smith also in the mix.
Goodwin, though, said "my goals are higher than being the fourth guy."
And his hole card is that he may be the fastest of the receivers, having been clocked at 4.34 seconds in the 40 in the spring. He also says he's stronger than any time during his career, weighing in at 188 pounds, 10 more than a year ago.
"I believe I'm back to where I was," he said.
If so, a UW receiving corps that has been rated among the best in the Pac-10 could be that much better.
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