Johnson Says Offensive Line Confident

Cedric Johnson has heard the critics, and he believes that the Tigers' offensive line will be ready to suprise a lot of people Saturday night against the Georgia Bulldogs. Read more about what the starting left guard had to say about the season opener in this report.

The offensive line for the Clemson Tigers was supposed to be somewhat of question mark entering the 2002 season. However, judging by the comments made out of Tiger Town this week, that may not necessarily be the case.

While all of media hype is surrounding one of the best offensive lines in the country in the Georgia Bulldogs, starting left guard Cedric Johnson believes that the Tigers are ready to make a big statement in 2002.

"As a team, we are about to make a statement to the nation. We are still a good team, but right now I don't feel like we are getting the credit for it, we've got a lot to prove on Saturday," said Johnson.

Even though the Tigers lost 3 of their starting interior linemen from a year ago in T.J. Watkins, Kyle Young, and Will Merritt, Johnson thinks that this year's unit has the potential to be much better.

"We all know the plays, and we've all worked hard this summer. That's the difference; all of this hard work we have done is finally getting ready to pay off. There hasn't really been any changes in the blocking schemes, just the guys we have right now are more athletic than what we've had in the past," said Johnson.

And for Johnson, it all starts with the season opener against Georgia. "It doesn't really matter what Georgia brings to the table, we'll be ready. People underestimate our offensive line, but I can tell you right now that we are going to surprise a lot of people this year," said Johnson.

The Thomasville, Georgia native has really taken the initiative to improve his play since his arrival at Clemson just two years ago. After arriving on campus at an estimated 360 pounds, Johnson realized that he had his work cut out for him if he was ever going to play a starting spot.

"I came to campus thinking that I could just do whatever and I'd be able to play, but Coach West changed that real quick," Johnson said.

As a result, Johnson has steadily seen his weight decline over the course of the last two years. In fact, he played in 11 of 12 games last season even though he was hampered most of the year with a nagging knee injury.

Now, it's a completely different story. Cedric sits at a slender 308 pounds and he's physically ready to become an impact player this season, especially since the season opener is in his home state of Georgia.

"We have a lot of guys from Georgia, including myself, and its a big game to all of us. Playing in a big rivalry game makes me excited, and I know we all are looking forward to it." Top Stories