Blankenship 'Heartbroken' Over Johnson's Suspension

Monday, August 29th 2011, 4:25 pm
By: News On 6

Bobby Lewis,

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The way the Golden Hurricane sees it, suspending star wide receiver Damaris Johnson is no different than losing him to an injury. Someone just has to step into his shoes and produce this weekend in Norman.

"I don't think you can replace Damaris. He's incredible," said quarterback G.J. Kinne. "But, those other guys are on scholarship too. Until we find out what's going on with him it's going to be their time to see what they can do."

On Monday at his weekly press conference, Tulsa first year head coach Bill Blankenship said he was "heart broken" for the senior receiver.

Blankenship suspended Johnson indefinitely on Friday after his best player was questioned by police about a felony embezzlement case involving his girlfriend, Chamon Jones.

Related Story: Tulsa Suspends Damaris Johnson Indefinitely

Johnson allegedly purchased nearly $3,000 in merchandise from a Tulsa Macy's department store, but was charged just under $13 for the items. A booking report says Johnson used Jones' debit card to make the purchases.

Now, it's his former teammates that are left feeling broke.

"Based on the information we have, he hasn't lived up to the standards that we hold at this university and with this program," said Blankenship. "Football players move forward. The first thing our guys wanted to know (after he was suspended) is who's going to play those positions and let's go.

"It' a harsh reality in football that many times we don't get to play with the guys that we prepare with."

Johnson remains suspended from all football activities until further notice.

Related Story: Golden Hurricane Preparing For Life Without Damaris Johnson

Tulsa travels to play the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners on Saturday for the first game of the season. Tulsa is prepared to throw six to seven different receivers at the Sooners' defense, hoping that some of the young players make some magic on the field.

It's the fifth straight season that the Golden Hurricane will open the year on the road. Tulsa is 16-7-1 all-time against Saturday's in-state opponent and hasn't beaten Oklahoma since 1996. OU leads the series 10-3-1 on its home field.

Related Story: Tulsa To Face OU And OSU This Season