Winston Guy staked his claim to the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting job at free safety when he returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown in his team's 16-10 preseason victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The former University of Kentucky star said it was his first touchdown since his senior year at Lexington Catholic.
"It was kind of like an out-of-body experience," Guy told Fox Sports. "It kind of shocked me. But it felt good. So hopefully I've got a knack for the ball now. I'm going to be ball-aware, try to be a ball hawk out there."
Guy's big play impressed Jaguars defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker.
"Any time you score on defense, that's not only going to boost the secondary, it's going to boost the whole defense," Walker said. "I thought it was very good for him, cause he definitely has improved. He's buying into some things, and it's good to see him have some success."
What did Guy, a third-year pro who started out with the Seattle Seahawks, buy into?
"Just the process," Walker said. "Not trying to become an All-Pro player in year one. There's definitely a process: learn the defense, tackling, technique — just all the things that really help players play at a level that's expected of them."
Guy is ahead of Josh Evans, the Jaguars' starter at free safety a year ago for most of the season, on the depth chart.
"If I'm where I need to be and reading my keys, things are just going to come to me," Guy told Fox Sports. "When you go out there and try to make plays, you put yourself in a position where you're not able to make them. It's just doing your job. When you do your job, everything else will fall into place. ...
"We have goals for the secondary," Guy said. "But if we have the mindset going into the game of, 'Oh, I'm going to get me a pick today,' it will kind of take you out of your game."
Guy wasn't able to keep the football from his TD.
"I don't know what happened," he said. "I was just so excited to be able take one to the house and have all my teammates celebrating with me. It really felt good to do something special for the team."
Johnson picking up pace
Stevie Johnson, the former Kentucky star who joined the San Francisco 49ers in the offseason after a trade from the Buffalo Bills, has raised his level of play over the past week, the team's website reported.
"There's no doubt," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "Every meeting, every practice, guys are getting a little bit more synced up. I think we all say that we're far from a finished product and we've got a lot more work to do though."
Warford sits out practice
Former UK and Madison Central standout Larry Warford missed Monday's practice with the Detroit Lions because of an illness that has sapped his energy, MLive.com reported.
"I'll be OK. Just sick," the Lions' starting right guard said.