Life of Brian: Just six days away

By By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

The U football team is merely six days away from kicking off the 2007 season against Oregon State, and nobody is more ready than junior quarterback Brian Johnson.

Johnson was recently named to yet another preseason watch list-this time the Davey O’Brien Award, which goes to the best quarterback in the nation. Last month the junior was voted MWC preseason all-conference quarterback and was also named to the Maxwell Award watch list, which goes to the most outstanding college football player in the nation.

The Chronicle caught up with Johnson earlier this week and drilled him about the upcoming season.

Chronicle: Just more than a week until the season opener against Oregon State. How do you think the team looks right now?

Johnson: The team is doing just fine right now. It’s still a gelling process and we need to solidify that running back position, but I really like where we are so far as a team and I’m really looking forward to Aug. 30.

Chronicle: Speaking of the running back position, I know a decision hasn’t been made and it’s out of your hands, but if you would say somebody has the edge, who would it be?

Johnson: It’s tough to say right now. (Darryl) Poston definitely has the most experience if you want to make experience a factor, but those other guys definitely bring a lot of great qualities to the table. It’s just a matter of who wants to step up and who wants the job, because they all do different things well.

Chronicle: What do you think the strong suit of the offense is right now?

Johnson: Probably the wide receivers or our offensive line. Those wideouts make huge plays and we got six guys that I know I can depend on. Those guys have progressed pretty impressively over the camp.

Chronicle: So, what would be the biggest weakness or question mark? Running back?

Johnson: I wouldn’t call it a weakness. The biggest question is at running back. But we’ve got a veteran group of guys that know what’s expected of them, and they’re going to get the job done.

Chronicle: What is the biggest challenge facing the Utes this year?

Johnson: The schedule. I think the schedule is definitely a huge challenge. I say we have a lot to prove this year and a lot of opportunities to prove it. This is the type of schedule where you can’t take a week off or overlook anyone because we could get beat by anyone on the schedule. We just got to come out and be ready to play week in and week out.

Chronicle: What is the biggest challenge facing (you) this year? TCU’s defensive ends?

Johnson: (laughing) I think it’s myself. I just need to come out and try not to do too much. I’m already asked to do enough, you know. That’s one thing my coaches have told me over the past year and a half-you don’t have to do everything. There are a lot of playmakers around me. All I have to do is get the ball in their hands.

Chronicle: I overheard Sean Smith being interviewed yesterday and he was talking about NCAA Football 2008 and how his ratings were all out of whack. What do you think (your) ratings should be?

Johnson: I think they would be pretty solid, but they always dog me on the awareness, man. I got great speed, decent accuracy, decent throwing power, but my awareness is like a 72. I only played that game one time and now I’m boycotting it. I’m playing Madden now because I’m a professional.

Lennie Mahler