"Today was not the best day for the defense," Johnson said. "We let the day get the better of us. We had peaks and valleys today."
It was another good day for quarterback Tyler Wilson. The senior captain was on target, especially on deep passes. He was clicking from start to finish.
Johnson still doesn't have his top linebackers available. Alonzo Highsmith made it through about half of the workout and made some plays, including a breakup of a pass.
"He moved around a little," Johnson said. "He's got fresh legs and he flashed at times."
Highsmith, a starter last year at linebacker, might not be full speed, still fighting back from a hamstring injury. Highsmith missed spring after surgery for a torn pectoral muscle.
Tenarius "Tank" Wright did not practice. He missed last week with a concussion, but had done some work earlier this week. Is it the concussion bothering Wright still?
"That's a good question," Johnson said. "I'm going to talk to (trainer) Matt Summers. I think Tank is better."
Johnson said he's not worried about conditioning for Highsmith and Wright.
"They get their cardio vascular workouts with Coach (Jason) Veltkamp each day," Johnson said. "They will need to get back into game shape."
The linebacker depth has improved in their absence, but Johnson isn't totally pleased yet.
"We have a long way to go still," he said. "We are still trying to stop the run. We do a lot of banging. The bruises are getting deeper. We want to keep getting tougher. It will be a constant challenge to be tougher."
Johnson praised outside linebacker Jarrett Lake, the starter there this week with Ross Rasner staying at safety with depth an issue there.
"Jarrett's done a nice job learning the position," Johnson said. "He's taking to the outside position. His confidence level is high because he's seeing the results. Now we have to work on consistency. You have one good play and then go back to one not so good and one bad. We want it all to be consistent."
Asked about true freshmen Otha Peters and A. J. Turner, Johnson said, "I keep asking them if they were going to get on the midnight train. This is when the freshmen hit the wall. You see that in their eyes. They are not used to such long days."
How are some of the other backup linebackers progressing?
"The big guy there is Kiero Small," Johnson said. "He's getting double duty (at fullback/linebacker). He's a heckuva player. We want to continue to develop him for sure."