Brandon Johnson Q&A

Here's the transcript of our interview with the young ISU offensive lineman.

CN: First of all, lets talk about the challenge of the offensive line. Where do you see the team right now, the offensive line right now, and what do you see your role being?

BJ: Right now the offensive line, we're just . . . we've got the system down pretty good and now we're just working out the kinks and stuff, and right now I'm trying to be a leader, you know, because as the center, you've got to make a lot more calls than everybody else, you've got direct everybody, and make sure everybody's on the same page. So that's what I'm trying to do right now.

CN: Now I have to ask you this question before I continue. Whenever we look at Academic All-American lists we always see offensive linemen there. Are they the smartest position on the field?

BJ: Mmmm . . . I'd like to say so, you know, because I've played defense and you've got to remember some things, but as an offensive lineman you've got to be really aware of things. But I can't really say they're the smartest, but, you know, maybe. I don't know; it's hard to say.

CN: Maybe off the field . . .

BJ: Yeah, maybe, maybe.

CN: First of all, give us a sense of where you developed from spring through the conditioning this summer. You know, how did you do in terms of strength gains, how did you do in terms of where your body is, and how did you do in terms of your speed?

BJ: You know, through the spring and everything, coming in with these new coaches and stuff, we've been hitting the weights real hard and stuff. I've put on a lot more muscle than I ever have before, and a lot faster. And my speed, I feel real good with my speed and my weight. I feel a lot stronger than I ever have, and I feel real good about it.

CN: So then, if you were to look at before, and what's happening new or different with this program, what are some of the keys?

BJ: I'll tell you what some of the keys are, you know, our weight-lifting now, we're all getting a lot more bulkier now and we're probably in the best shape we've ever been in, so we're really ready and everything.

CN: How physical is practice right now?

BJ: For us offensive and defensive linemen, we get anything, any pads, you know . . . even without pads . . . it's live for us, really. It's all-out, really. You try and stay on your feet during it, but it's pretty much live for us offensive and defensive linemen.

CN: What's the competition like in terms of the offensive line? There are a lot of bodies there; Coach Chizik said that no one inherits a position; everybody earns their job. What's that competition like within the unit?

BJ: You know, I think the competition's real good, you know. Everybody, you know, as long as they know their assignments, everybody's got talent. So the competition in there is real good, because there's . . . the people behind you, you know . . . just everybody is good. It's the competition, it's always going to be good in there.

CN: Now, you're in front of the quarterback. Give us your impression of the signal-callers for this team.

BJ: The signal-callers? Well, I make a lot of the calls up front . . .

CN: I guess I mean the quarterback.

BJ: Oh, the quarterback? He‘s good. He . . .

CN: I'm from a different era when the quarterbacks actually got to call plays. I suppose I should have just said quarterback.

BJ: Well, the quarterback, he, like, helps us direct and stuff, and . . . helps us decide which way we're going to go, and when he has to, makes audibles and stuff like that.

CN: What are your impressions of Bret, Austen and Phil?

BJ: They're all real good athletes, you know, and they've all got good heads on them, you know, and they're the guys back there that you really trust with the ball, and you trust they'll make good decisions, and they let you know what's happening, if they want us to do something for them, we'll do it, and I like . . . they're real good.

CN: Now, the coaching staff has said this team will run the ball. Talk about Jamicah, Scales . . . Jason, and Cameron. Give us your impression of those guys.

BJ: You know, J.J. Bass, I just met him, and he seems like a great guy. I saw him run these past three days and he looks real good, you know, he's real physical, real fast. Scales . . . Scales has always been there, and hopefully we'll be able to open up holes for him this year. And Harris, he's a fast, fast guy, you know. He moved back from defense to offense now, and so hopefully he'll be real good this year, and he'll be good help for us.

CN: How's Cameron looking? I mean, he's a big back . . .

BJ: He's a big guy, 230 you know, and I think he'll be a great back for us . . . short yardage, you know. And he's got some speed on him for how big he is, too, so I think he'll be real good. I saw him the other day; he looked real good.

CN: The tight ends are being worked in as part of the offensive unit. How are they adjusting?

BJ: They seem like they're adjusting real well. They move around a lot and give some lead blocks a lot. And they've been looking real good there, too.

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