Sophomore offensive tackle Roderick Johnson is going through a completely different fall camp than the one he experienced last season when he was trying to work his way into the starting lineup. Johnson moved into the starting role against Miami nine games into the season. Every other member of that starting offensive line had at least forty starts under his belt.
Johnson said it didn’t take long for him to make the jump from high school to college football.
“It didn’t take too long, but I did have to adapt to this lifestyle,” Johnson said. “The guys took me in and said what to expect and I knew what to expect when I got out here. How fast the game went and everything like that. I had that really good so it wasn’t too hard to adjust to that.”
That certainly seemed to be true with Johnson earning USA Today first team freshman All-American honors despite only playing in five games. Johnson’s not resting on his laurels though. He knows coach Trickett is going to expect more and more from him as his career goes on.
“It was kind of encouraging, but they always have their expectations up so you have to play up to their expectations,” Johnson said. “The bar is never set. It keeps getting higher and high. And for the people behind us that give us that motivation to get better so we’re all getting better as a whole.”
This year Johnson is the only returning offensive lineman with any starting experience, but he said there’s not much difference.
“It’s not really different,” Johnson said. “It’s not about how many games you started. It’s all about feel. Can you block the guy in front of you? If you can’t then somebody else will. It’s really not about the experience, it’s just how well you can do your technique and that’s all coach Trickett really preaches. Technique and that’s what the guys have been working on.”
With Johnson being the most veteran offensive lineman on the team he understands what the other offensive linemen are going through.
“It takes a while [to get used to it],” Johnson said. “A lot of work, but it happens fast. You can be here like I was and next thing I know I was down in Miami playing my first game. They’re doing a pretty good job. The young guys are really helping out the team all over the field so I’m pretty sure you’re going to see a lot of those guys on the field this fall.”
As for who’s going to be a part of the starting five on the offensive line this season Johnson says he’s not worried about that and he’s going to leave it to coach Trickett.
“Well I’m just going to leave that up to coach Trickett,” Johnson said. “I know that he knows what he’s doing because he’s been doing it for forty-plus years. If he finds the right line the first week before the game we just roll with it. If he finds it now we just roll with that too.”
With the offensive line being brand new they’ve had to work on getting in unison and not making the same mistakes twice.
“Early in camp we all make mistakes, but at least we are making them fast,” Johnson said. “We’re watching film so we won’t make the same mistakes, but everyday we’re getting better.”
“There’s a lot of unison,” Johnson said. “We’re always out here getting extra work in. Trying to get better and correcting each other. We’re always picking each other up when we’re down so it’s going to be real good training with these guys. We’re just going to find the right five and whoever it is I wish the best of luck to them.”
Johnson is one of the top offensive tackles in the country, but Florida State will need him to be more than that this season. He will need to be the leader of the offensive line, and, so far, it seems that he’s stepping into that role very well.