Bulldogs' Frasier out to prove 2012 wasn't a fluke
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 22, 2013 1:47 PM
Johnny Frasier didn't have too much fuel in his tank last fall.
And he hardly felt like "Johnny Rockets," the nickname given to him at Princeton last season.
A sophomore, Frasier didn't fully grasp the importance of weight-room work and how it helps an athlete endure a physically-demanding season that went 14 weeks. He managed to rush for 1,792 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Frasier admits it could have been better.
"I didn't have my mind set on (the weight room) last year," he said. "I didn't know how important it was until injuries started happening and it was too late then."
Frasier has practically lived in the weight room this summer. He's added muscle and developed a more aggressive running style. Second-year head coach Derrick Minor watched Frasier run tentatively at times last season instead of hitting open holes with a vengeance.
A track athlete, Frasier had the speed to run by defenders.
Now he's gained more strength and the assertiveness to run through potential tacklers.
"It helps being here now because we're requiring the weight room as part of our conditioning," Minor said. "We keep our practice time down so we can get that weight room time. Johnny's running through people and dragging guys now where last year he was kind of hesitant and backing off. Now he's leaning forward and dragging four or five guys."
Frasier also discovered confidence, something Minor has noticed.
No longer timid and worried about his ability, the 5-11, 198-pounder turned the heads of N.C. State and North Carolina coaches during camps this summer. Attention from Division I programs has Frasier motivated to prove last season wasn't a fluke.
"He's already saying he's got goals and he wants the ball in his hand," Minor said. "Where last year he was a little bit tentative, now he's wanting the ball and wanting the game on his shoulders and we're going to have to do that. Him wanting to do that is the biggest thing.
"I think Johnny wants to prove to everybody that he deserves everything he's got. Some of the teams coming into our conference are getting a lot of hype because of their running backs and he feels he should be getting as much if not more."
Junior quarterback Michael Wooten should benefit from having a stronger, tougher Frasier in the backfield. A reliable running game takes pressure off of Wooten, who threw for 1,153 yards and four touchdowns last season.
"You don't have to worry about doing everything yourself," Wooten said. "He can be an outlet (in the passing game), too."
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