At this point last spring, the big men up front weren’t as confident in their abilities.
“Last year, we weren’t that good as an offensive line,” Johnson said. “We had a scrimmage and the refs told us that we looked disjointed and out of sync as an offensive line.”
As fans witnessed, the group continued to work throughout the summer, in camp, and during the fall, helping to lead the Knights to a perfect season. But next fall, the goal for the unit is to be even better.
“We took that as a chip on our shoulder the whole year, and we went 13-0,” Johnson said. “We gave up 13 sacks as an offensive line last year, so the new goal is 12. We’re trying to give up the least amount of sacks we can. We’re trying to keep McKenzie (Milton) clean.”
Johnson, who has built quite the rapport with his quarterback, is doing whatever he can to make it stronger and stronger, including having what his teammates have dubbed a “sleepover.”
“We just hung out, ate some good food and played some Fortnite. Me and my dog, McKenzie,” Johnson said. “I think (our relationship) is already pretty good, but the more we hang out, the better our bond grows.”
“The first guy I think of is Sam Jackson,” Johnson said, of who’s stepping up. “Everything the coaches ask him to do, he’s doing it. When we watch film, he’s the best one at applying what coach tells us in film.”
Johnson isn’t afraid to admit he’s got competition either.
“And Cole Schneider,” he said. “He’s my backup right now, and he’s pushing me to be even better, because he’s about to take my position if I don’t step up.”
Day in and day out, head coach Josh Heupel and the rest of the staff are preaching competition, and Johnson knows that will help down the line.
“Enforcing the compete factor is making us all better,” he said. “We’re all out here competing against one another, competing against ourselves, just competing in everything we do, so it’s just going to keep making us better.”
The Knights will hit the practice field again on Friday for the ninth practice of the spring. All practices are closed to the public.
UCF Spring Game Tickets
The UCF Football Spring Game presented by DEX Imaging is set for April 21 at 6 p.m. inside Spectrum Stadium. General admission tickets are free. There are premium seats available for the Spring Game at the following prices: Tower Club – $20; Stadium Club – $10; Carl Black & Gold Cabana – $5. Students are always admitted free to UCF Football, with a valid UCF Student ID. Click here for more details on obtaining UCF Football Spring Game presented by DEX Imaging tickets.