Montrell Johnson Monday Press Conference Q&A Transcript

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    Mark Wheeler
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    Courtesy ASAP:

    Q. So how do you guys come down off that high and stay the course and get grounded for another tough opponent in a big environment?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: So basically, we just got to build on great days, get 1 percent better every day. Get back in the film room and just go to work. That’s all there is to it.

    Q. Is that the message Billy imparted? Did he bring this up? Did he talk about, hey, that was great, enjoy it, it’s behind us now? What did he tell you? What was his message?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Billy’s message was just, you know, that’s behind us now. Go on to the next step. As always, get better every day. Just leave stuff like that behind, you know what I mean.

    Q. What did it mean to you for Coach to come back to you after the fumble?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: It meant a lot to me because it just shows he has a lot of trust in me, a lot of trust in my game. I’m glad he did because I think I would have had a bad game of — you know, if I got the ball later in the game. So I’m glad he came back to me.

    Q. How did you flush it, do you think, mentally?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Mentally, I flushed it by my teammates, like when I got back to the sideline, my teammates they came over. They encouraged me. They picked my head up when I was down. I really appreciate that out of them.

    Q. You’ve been in big games before but at a different level. This is a big game in front of 90,000 people. Talk about the atmosphere that you felt, particularly late in the game when you got all these people screaming.

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Atmosphere was great, man. It was great to hear 90,000-plus cheering for you on a Saturday night. You could tell that the atmosphere was difficult for Utah’s offense and their defense as well. It really changed the outcome of the game.

    Q. What will you remember from that game 10, 20, 30 years from now?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Probably that fumble (laughter).

    Q. Did it bother you that much?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: It bothered me that much. I was really uncomfortable with it.

    Q. Anthony joked, he said they’re going to have to roll you this week. Do you think you’re going to have to roll after practice for the fumble?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Yeah, Nay’Quan and Anthony told me that. I’m going to pay my dues, me and Trevor.

    Q. How did The Swamp compare with like Texas last year or whatever? They had 90,000 there.

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Uncomparable. The Swamp was so much louder, so much more intensity, more humid. It was just way better.

    Q. The biggest crowd you played for at home is 31,000?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Yes, sir. That’s not even comparable to what we saw on Saturday night.

    Q. Late in the ballgame when you guys commit to running the football, you got six minutes left and you’re committed to running the football, talk about what you see from your offensive line there. You’re lining up. Do you see guys just snarling and ready to just go knock somebody off the ball?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: To my O-linemen, I give all my greatness to them. They did great all night. They were getting a lot of push off the ball, and you could see throughout the game, the defense was getting tired. We were just wearing them down by our fast-paced offense, and that really helped us a lot.

    Q. How about O’Cyrus going after people?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: That man is great. You’re going to see him on Sundays.

    Q. How many times do you guys watch the two-point conversion?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Oh, my God, we watched it at least five times in the meeting room, but I seen it at least 20 times on Twitter and all the type of social media.

    In the game I actually thought Anthony got sacked right there, and I’m like what? It was just crazy.

    Q. Can you even describe what he did?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: It’s indescribable. He pump faked, jumped in mid air, did a spin move, and then threw it. I don’t know, man. That’s just different.

    Q. On the fourth down play, you make the key block. What did you see with the guy coming off the edge there? You sprung him on that fourth down play.

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Which one are you talking about?

    Q. On the winning drive. It’s fourth and three. He’s back to pass. They bring the blitzer. You got the blitzer.

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: So Coach always teaches us to get our presnap read. I already knew that was my guy. I just got my presnap read and got to him just in time.

    Q. How does it affect the run game to have a guy like Anthony who’s so mobile and defenses have to key on him?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: It affects the run game a lot because it takes a lot of pressure off me. When we fake the ball going this way, Anthony going the other way, the defense doesn’t know who has the ball. So it affects the run game a lot.

    Q. When you have a guy who can make a play like that, the two-pointer, do you feel like you’re in any game as long as you can keep it a possession?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Yes, sir. If any team has a guy like Anthony on their team, they’re in a position to win. It doesn’t matter what’s the outcome, you know what I mean?

    Q. Not to belabor, you’re stressing. You run over a guy already. Technically what did you do wrong, or was it just a great play by the defensive guy to knock it out?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I thought it was a great play. I was in a bad position, I was trying to brace myself for the fall. I only had one hand on the ball, and he just stripped it loose. It was a great play by the defender.

    Q. Were you trying to stay inbounds at the end of the game when you get down to the 2?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Yes, sir. I wasn’t trying to go out of bounds. I was trying to keep the clock running.

    Q. Did you do anything like — it obviously bothers you fumbling the football as a running back.

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Yes, sir.

    Q. Do you do anything extra? You always have these things, guys carrying footballs to class or whatever. I mean, are you going to do anything extra to prevent that from happening again?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Nothing that extreme. I wouldn’t carry a ball to class.

    Q. Would you sleep with it? I don’t know.

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Say like this week, for example, this week during practice, I’ll probably work on like we call a stumble bum drill. You stumble and put one hand on the ground and pick the ball up tighter. So I’ll probably work on that more this week.

    Q. What was practice like yesterday, just the energy coming off that game?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: The energy was great. Everybody was excited ready to get back to work and get after Kentucky.

    Q. Is there a sense — the coaches have been preaching for nine months. This is the way we do things. Is there a sense of validation when you win and beat a top ten team after doing all the things you’ve done for nine months?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Yes, sir. It’s most definitely a lot of validation because it shows us the work that we put in from January to now has paid off. A lot of guys needed that.

    Q. You warned us a few weeks ago that Etienne was going to be pretty special. What do you like about his game, and how is it different from you?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I like that he’s a shifty kind of runner. He has great lateral quickness, and he gets off well, and he’s a home run threat.

    Q. What’s your mindset going into this week knowing that SEC play starts and you guys got Kentucky coming to town?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Mindset is just keep building on good days. Just keep getting better each and every day, and it’s all going to come together at the end.

    Q. Is it on your mind that it’s your first SEC game?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: It’s just a game in my mind.

    Q. You mentioned doing a ton of things presnap. You guys did a ton of motions and stuff. How much did that benefit you to open up the run game and throw off the defense?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: The motions are great for our offense because, once we motion a player, it gives us like a type of visual like with what the defense is doing. So it helps a lot.

    Q. You’re a Sun Belt guy. I guess you saw what happened with App State and you played there, and you saw what happened with them getting 40 points in the fourth quarter on North Carolina. Did that surprise you, being a Sun Belt guy, that that would happen?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: That really didn’t surprise me. App State, they’re a great team. They didn’t beat UL last year, but that didn’t surprise me.

    Q. Better players in the Sun Belt than people think?

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Yes, sir, most definitely.

    Q. Can you break down Trevor’s skill set after seeing him? Obviously all through preseason camp but also seeing him in the game.

    MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Like I said before, Trevor has great lateral speed, great lateral quickness. He has great speed. He’s a home run threat. He’s going to be a great player for us in the future.

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