Punter Ryan Johnson has been money for Cards

University of Louisville redshirt junior Ryan Johnson picked up a scholarship from Charlie Strong and has now been solid in limited action for the Cardinals this season.

With an offensive unit that has averaged 48 points through four games, the University of Louisville football team has not had to put punter Ryan Johnson to work much this season.

The redshirt junior earned a scholarship from Charlie Strong earlier this spring and the DeSales High School product has punted just 11 times in the Cards‘ first four games. He is averaging 46.1 yards a punt on the season, which is seven yards better than his 2012 average.

Despite the limited action, Johnson has managed to impress his head coach.

"(Ryan) is punting the ball very well for us," Strong said on Monday.

"I gave him a scholarship in the spring because he came in and won the job in the fall. He deserved a scholarship. He changes the field position; that is what you talk about in special teams is just changing the field position and that is what Ryan can do."

Johnson said that Strong extending him a scholarship has enabled him to be more relaxed when called upon.

"(Earning a scholarship) definitely has boosted (my confidence)," Johnson said.

"I'm just not worried about screwing up or not doing something right. Now that I've accomplished getting a scholarship, it's kind of like no worries- just go out there and do your thing."

Though he hasn't had to punt much, Johnson has gotten plenty of work at his other job: holding for field goals and extra points. He took over the role late last season and has once again assumed the duty in 2013.

"I kind of struggled with it at first, getting the ball down and everything like that," Johnson said. "But it's a very important job - catching it and getting it down so that John (Wallace) can kick the ball."

Of course, having one of the nation's best long snappers, Grant Donovan, has helped sooth any trepidation Johnson may have felt about being the full-time holder.

"(Donovan) does an excellent job for us," Johnson said. "There are no worries ever with him. I'm very confident with (catching snaps from him."

If the Louisville offense does as expected, and continues to post points at a frenetic clip, Johnson's workload won't increase. But if needed, the Cardinal coaching staff, and Johnson himself, are fully confident he can get the job done.


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