Rashad Johnson Sees Keys To Victory

Alabama all-star safety Rashad Johnson spent the Crimson Tide's open weekend the same way a lot of Crimson Tide fans did. He found himself a comfortable place on his family's couch in the den and watched college football all day Saturday.



This Saturday, Rashad Johnson and his Alabama teammates will be watched by millions of college football fans as Bama plays host to Auburn. Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m. CST in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama is 11-0 overall and 7-0 in Southeastern Conference play and headed for the SEC Championship Game against Florida the following week. The Crimson Tide is ranked first in the nation and hoping to continue its winning ways to the national championship.

Auburn is 5-6 overall and 2-5 in SEC play. The Tigers, pre-season favorites to win the SEC Western Division, have bombed this year, but can make everything right with a win over Bama. Auburn is going for a seventh straight victory over the Crimson Tide and a fifth straight in Bryant-Denny Stadium. In addition to ruining Alabama's season, the Tigers could become the SEC's ninth bowl-eligible team.

One thing Johnson noticed as he watched college football games Saturday "sometimes those guys hit it right on the head in their keys to winning."

If Johnson was to analyze Saturday's Alabama-Auburn game, what would he say are the keys to winning?

"The key to winning is in the front lines," he said, "the offensive and defensive lines. You have to run and you have to stop the run, including runs by their quarterback. Special teams will be a big factor. They have to stop Javy (Bama kick return star Javier Arenas)."

Johnson also listened to analysts talking about the things that had to happen for various teams to make it to the BCS national championship game in Miami on January 8 and noticed Alabama wasn't mentioned much. That's because Bama doesn't need anything to happen. "That's the way we want it to be," Johnson said. "We don't want anything to control our destiny except us."

Johnson has had an outstanding year. The senior from Sulligent, a former walk-on running back, ranks second on the team in tackles (first in primary with 45 and also 23 assists for 68) and first in interceptions with five and pass breakups (10).

The Alabama safety said, "We've done a lot so far, but it won't mean anything to us if we lose this game. This game is important to our fans and to our university. They've been up on us for six years and they have confidence despite what's happened this year. It would be a bad memory for us to lose. We have a lot of motivation."

Johnson said that Auburn's change of offensive systems and quarterbacks midway through the season would not be a factor. "They probably aren't going to change a lot more in their off week, so we've got a couple of tapes to look at them," he said.

Johnson is aware of Auburn quarterback Kodi Burns being as dangerous with his feet as he is with his arm. "I think he's their second leading rusher," Johnson said. "He's going to try to run the ball. We've got to get guys to him and wrap him up like any other running back."

Johnson said Alabama is preparing as it has throughout the season, one game at a time. On Saturday, he said, "We have to go out and play our game and not try to do anything extra."

He said Auburn's six-game winning streak is not a factor this week. "Coach Saban will do an excellent job of getting us ready and we'll get ourselves ready. He's the same week-in and week-out."

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