Johnson: "I'm always ready for a challenge"

Iowa's veteran cornerback talks about the challenges of facing a very explosive Ohio State team, and how he approaches that in this premium interview transcript.

Q: (On which Ohio State team they'll see this year)

Jovon Johnson: This year we get them early in the season when things aren't so great. We're going to have to look like a professional team out there to go out there and be successful.

Q: What's it like for you to head up to Columbus and play in the shoe?

Johnson: It's obviously a challenge when you know you're going to play against 100,000 fans and a great team like Ohio State, it's just like going into Penn State and playing against them. You're going to have to prepare, you're going to have to be at your best if you want to win the game.

Q: Is this the kind of game that the team is really going to learn what they're all about?

Johnson: Definitely, this is going to be a challenge for us. It's going to be the type of game where we're going to see where we're at. We're playing against a top 10 team, so it'll give us a great chance to go out there and see what kind of team we're going to be in the future.

Q: With the receivers that they've got, this could be more of a challenge for you than anybody else.

Johnson: Definitely, they've got Ted Ginn and Santonio Holmes, they're both good guys, they're both good receivers, they both have a lot of speed. It's going to be a challenge for me and Antwan (Allen), but at the same time, we're fully capable, as we showed last year.

Q: You kind of smile when you talk about those other guys, you like this, don't you?

Johnson: Oh yeah. I like going into games against guys who are highly rated because it gives me a chance to showcase what I'm able to do. It also gives my team and myself a chance to go out there and knock off the top dog. You always see Michigan and Ohio State at the top of the Big Ten, but we'll see where we're at after the game.

Q: When you guys are watching highlights of Ted Ginn and Santonio Holmes, is everybody constantly turning around and looking at your and Antwan and laughing and stuff?

Johnson: We haven't really watched film on them as a team yet, we'll do that today, we'll see what they do in there.

Q: That'll happen though, right?

Johnson: Both of them make big plays. Santonio Holmes is more of a deep wide receiver threat and Ginn is more of a trick player, a special teams player, they both have aspects to their game that will present a challenge for us.

Q: How could the revenge factor from last year help them out to focus on this game?

Johnson: I'm sure they're probably focused on this game last week, that's probably why they didn't play so well against San Diego State. At the same time, after what happened to them last year here, it's going to be a headhunt for us. They probably had us circled on their calendar since last year. It's going to be a big game for us, but it's going to be a big game for them too.

Q: You guys haven't won at Ohio State since 1991. What do you think when you hear that, does that give added motivation?

Johnson: It always gives added motivation when you go on the road and play against a great team. We haven't won there in a while, but we have come close, we played them in 2003 pretty tough. Unfortunately, our special teams gave up two big players. It's going to be a game for us to just go out there and try and be successful.

Q: Are you confident about stopping the receivers?

Johnson: Yeah, I'm always confident when I'm about to play against a good group of receivers. I know they're going to be at their best and it's going to challenge me to be at my best this week. It's always a challenge, but I'm always ready for a challenge.

Q: Has this become an important week of practice?

Johnson: This week of practice will determine how we're going to play as a team. If we have a good week of practice we should have a great game. If not, it showed this past week when we played against UNI, our practice week wasn't that great and we obviously had mistakes out there. We have to limit those and be ready to go.

Q: How do you correct those mistakes and prevent those receivers getting open?

Johnson: That's what we use Sunday for. We use Sunday to watch the film and then go out in just jerseys and walk through the plays that we messed up on. If you mess up on it, you'll see it again for the rest of the season. That's what we did, we went out in practice and worked on those things. UNI did some things that Iowa State did to us and were successful and we changed things around and we were able to make plays off of it. It'll be a challenge for us, but we'll be fully capable.

Q: You said after the game, if we make the same mistakes against Ohio State, it'll be a blowout, something to that effect.

Johnson: I wouldn't say that it would be a blowout, I was kind of exaggerating. If we make those mistakes as much as we did this weekend, we'll place the burden on ourselves and it'll be a tougher game for ourselves. If we go out there and be mistake free, the game will probably be one we can remember.

Q: Is the deep pass a concern for you guys at all?

Johnson: We don't feel like it's a concern, but at the same time it could be a problem if you let guys get behind you and things like that. These receivers aren't guys that are going to drop passes and they're going to make the big play, so you've got to limit those and be able to be tough in certain situations.


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