By Mason Kelley
When Jaydon Mickens started to prepare for the 2014 season, he got creative.
He pushed his car up a hill.
Washington’s junior receiver had a friend put the car in neutral and steer, while Mickens pushed from behind. Once every two weeks, he would attempt to power the car up the same hill four times as part of his training routine.
Was he successful?
“A couple of times it came back down and he had to put the brake on,” Mickens said. “But most of the time I got it up.”
When he wasn’t pushing cars, Mickens was going on eight-mile runs to Fred Meyer. He would jog four miles to the store, buy a liter of water and head back. Once he got home, he finished off his workout with abdominal exercises.
“I’ve got to keep my tucked-up jersey nice and precise, so my abs can flow and show,” he joked after Saturday’s practice.”
All of the offseason work, both traditional and unique, was designed to get him ready to live up to the tattoo that starts on the inside of his left biceps and continues on the right: “Speed Kills.”
Mickens joked he may one day have to cover up the tattoo or change it to “no speed,” but for now, his ability to accelerate downfield makes him a dangerous weapon in Washington’s offense.
With his conditioning where he wants it, Mickens is now fine-tuning his game.
“I’m getting good deep balls,” he said. “I’m practicing my over-the-shoulder catch. I made one against Colorado, but I just want to make it consistent and not just make it that one great play.”
Over his first two seasons with the Huskies, Mickens paid close attention to players like Desmond Trufant, Bishop Sankey and Keith Price. He is now taking those lessons and passing them on to the younger players in the program.
"I got the wisdom from them, and I’m trying to pass it on,” Mickens said. “I’ve got the younger receivers coming up to me, asking me what to do on routes, and I know. It wasn’t always like that. As this thing goes on and I mature, it’s getting easier and easier by the day.”
Before jogging over to sit in the cold tub, Mickens was asked if had anything else he wanted to share. He started to laugh.
“I like candy,” he said. “I don’t want to take Skittles from Marshawn (Lynch). He’s got those. I like Jolly Ranchers. I think I’m going to have a bag of blue Jolly Ranchers on the bench with me every game.”
Whether he is telling a story about pushing his car up a hill or explaining his love of candy, one thing is certain: When Mickens is around, the conversation is always entertaining.