Johnson ready to blossom at safety
Sophomore strong safety Brent Johnson played in all 12 games season as a red-shirt freshman and now appears ready to step up this season as a starter in the secondary.
Johnson, who registered seven tackles in reserve action, spoke with ITV following Tuesday afternoon's practice.
Q: How was the first day in pads?
Johnson: It's kind of tough at first because everybody's not used to having the pads on right now. So you get kind of tired . It's a mental thing. We've got to keep pushing. So far we've done pretty good with full pads on today.
Q: Who's the leader of the secondary?
Johnson: I think Josh is the biggest leader because he's come along way. He's our only senior in the secondary and he's the ideal of what our secondary wants to be. He breaks on the ball good, knows his calls, tackles good and he's just a good leader back there.
Q: It seems like you possess the qualities to be a leader one of these days. Do you feel that way?
Johnson: I see myself more as a leader by example because you don't always have to be a vocal leader. You can lead by example, go 100% every play, know your calls and when it's time make your tackles. I just try to pick my teammates up when they get tired and show them that even though we all get tired we can still go a hundred percent.
Q: As the strong safety, are you the enforcer in the secondary?
Johnson: Yeah, I want to be the hitter but I also want to get interceptions. So I want to do it both. Make big hits and make the interception too.
Q: You get an up close look every day at the receivers. How are they coming along from your perspective?
Johnson: I think our receivers are very good. They've come along way. This coaching staff has worked with them and transformed them into receivers that run good, hard routes every time and they're going to give you a good, solid look every time. I think they're very good, the whole group.
Q: How's do you feel the quarterback battle is shaping up so far?
Johnson: It's just different.. you've got some that you can read and some that you can't, but right now I think Stefan is a little better but I don't want to pick anyone out of the group. They're all doing well.
Q: What's the biggest thing the team needs to improve upon before the season starts later this month?
Johnson: We've got to come together as a team; play as a team and learn that if the offense is down, the defense will pick them up or if both are down special teams will come in and pick them up. We have got to just play hard, be physical and play as a team.
Q: Are you excited to be the starting strong safety?
Johnson: Yeah, I've been waiting my turn to be a starter and it's been a long journey so now is my time. If eel like it's my moment and I'm going to seize it.