Q&A: Leonard Johnson on all things secondary

By Chris Williams, PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams

All-league cornerback Leonard Johnson believes that this is the best secondary that he’s been a part of during his time at Iowa State.

Johnson tackles that topic, the defensive line’s progression, how Iowa State’s freshmen defensive backs have looked and more in this exclusive CF Q&A.

CF: From talking to the coaches, it seems like the defensive ends are really coming around, and the defensive tackles as well. From what you’ve seen, do you think that they’ll get some more pressure on the quarterback this year which in return, will make your job a lot easier?

LJ: I see the transition. Those guys had a really good offseason that set them up for camp. The way that they practice and prepare is going to put them in a good position when the season comes around.

CF: Obviously your job is easier when the line puts pressure on an opposing quarterback. Can you put into your words the difference between a game like Texas last year and a game where a quarterback has time to pick a secondary apart?

LJ: It is easy. You feel me? When the quarterback can sit back and not have guys in his face, it is easy to make plays on their part. But when a quarterback is on his toes and people are in his face, everything is coming down. It is a lot easier for me to do my job. I don’t have to run down the field and worry about coming back. Like I said, our front seven is doing a really good job right now.

CF: Is this the best secondary that you’ve been a part of?

LJ: Yes. I can honestly say that.

CF: That comes at a pretty good time, considering the line is coming together right?

LJ: Everything is coming together. We’ve got a lot of experience in that secondary. We’ve got a lot of experience at linebacker and defensive line. Everything is clicking. I’m excited to see what is going to happen.

CF: A lot of young defensive backs joined the program this year. What is your take on that group?

LJ: Those guys are coming along. Those guys are making plays. Jared Brackens is running with the twos right now. He’s a big kid. A smart kid. He still has a lot of growing up to do. Kenny Lynn and Sam Richardson, those guys are young corners and I am kind of trying to teach them the game and give them, what when I was a freshman, those guys didn’t give me. I am trying to help out and make sure that they understand the game for what it is. Despite all of that, they are making plays. They are breaking on balls, picking balls off. They are ball players. They just need some fine tuning in different areas.

CF: You seem like you enjoy the teaching aspect of this. Is that accurate?

LJ: I wouldn’t say I am being a teacher. I’m just giving them some pointers. I want to help take their game to another level. The better that they get, the better we get. The better I get. Those guys are pushing.