Johnson Takes His Defense Seriously

Rashad Johnson knows that when the opponent is in the Red Zone – inside the Alabama 20-yard line – it's almost always because the Tide defense didn't do a good job on previous plays. And when Bama's defense has its back to the football wall, "We have to focus," Johnson said.



Rashad Johnson and the Alabama defense have been successful thus far in keeping opponents from scoring touchdowns. The only touchdown given up by the Tide this year came on a 96-yard kickoff return by Clemson's C.J. Spiller.

Johnson, a senior safety, said, "If they get there [Red Zone], we want to hold them to a field goal try and maybe get a hand on the ball or affect the kicker so he misses."

Johnson said not allowing a touchdown is "a big deal, but we're only two games in. Someone is probably going to score on us. The important thing will be how we respond after that happens."

Alabama's next test comes Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium when the Crimson Tide hosts Western Kentucky at 6 p.m. CDT. The only television is pay-per-view.

Johnson led the Southeastern Conference last season with six interceptions. He hasn't had one this year, although he has had some opportunities. "It seems like every time I get around a ball, someone hits my arm," he said. "I get a P.B.U. (pass broken up), but that's not as good as an I.N.T. (interception). Still, as long as we keep them from making a play, that's good."

Alabama, ranked 11th in the nation, is coming off an unimpressive 20-6 win over Tulane.

"Tulane did some new things," Johnson said. "It was their first game and they had an extra week to put things in. They had good schemes. They did some things they didn't do last year. And Tulane had some good players."

Johnson expects a good game from Western Kentucky. "Every team has good players," he said.

Johnson is impressed with Alabama's young players. Freshman safety Mark Barron had playing time alongside Johnson last week. "It was a learning experience for him," Johnson said. "Look for him to show up a lot more. The freshmen have been doing well. Dont'a (starting weakside linebacker freshman Dont'a Hightower) and Mark are playing better every week."

Johnson said it is important to have good, consistent practices. He also thinks it is important to get more players up to a high level. To both those ends, Johnson said he is trying to be a more vocal leader in his senior season.

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