Johnson stepping his game up

ATHENS – Making noise is nothing new for Kelin Johnson.

In fact, it's natural. His lips work like his lungs, involuntarily and all the time.

"He's a high-energy kid," defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. "His personality is of a high-energy kid."

So it was no surprise Johnson's debut as a regular Georgia starter wasn't quiet. Kelin Johnson, a junior from Daytona Beach, Fla., led the No. 15 Bulldogs with six tackles in Saturday's win against Western Kentucky. Stepping into the slot left by All-American Greg Blue, Johnson also played a major role in both Georgia turnovers, recovering a fumble and intercepting his second collegiate pass.

His production ratio, as judged by the Bulldog coaches after each game, was the highest of any Georgia defender for Saturday's game.

"I feel I did OK man, but I know there's a lot of room for improvement. I know there's a lot I need to focus on, as far as my technique, as far as being aware of what's going on on the field, helping out my teammates, as far as hand signals, making sure everybody's on the same page, safeties on the same page, linebackers and d-linemen, as far as technique, like I said, and as far as playing harder. I know I need to give a lot more effort this Saturday," he said in his typical sentence-structure.

Johnson's personality was handed down from his family, he said.

"That's one thing my mom and dad and grandmother instilled in me," he said. "I was kind of bad when I was younger and nobody wanted to be around me, and I had to hang out with parents a lot. I just realized you have to be a people person for people to like you."


"Just being real disruptive, not listening to my parents, being bad with my cousins, hitting them or playing jokes or something."

He's still being disruptive. He's already almost halfway to last year's total of 14 tackles. (He also had 14 in 2004.)

"I thought he played exceptionally well," safety Tra Battle said.

Battle isn't bashful himself, but Johnson stands out at a position where walking the walking is still No. 1 but talking the talking is a close second.

"That's the mark of a good defender," Battle said. "You have to communicate out there in the secondary."

That won't be a problem for Johnson.

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