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October 22, 2012

D.J. Johnson

Q.  This past weekend, what did you learn about those guys (Indiscernible)?
DJ JOHNSON:  That we believe in ourselves and we can fight.  You know, that no victory against us will be easy.  We're going to put up a fight no matter what and stick together through thick and thin.

Q.  After last season when things didn't go your way, and now you've beaten West Virginia and backed that up with a road victory, do you feel like Coach Tuberville, his mark is finally stamped on this program in a way that you haven't seen it before?
DJ JOHNSON:  No, I don't.  I feel like we'll make that mark toward the end of the season.  We'll discuss that toward the end of the season.  We still have a lot of games to go.  It's Big 12.  It can go either way.  What I can guarantee you is he has a group of guys that believe in him and what he stands for and what this team stands for.  We're going to be behind him to support him a hundred percent and give our all every game.

Q.  How about the emotional investment into the last few weeks and what the emotion was to winning games in those fashion?  How do you as leaders restop and refuel that emotion?
DJ JOHNSON:¬† It never leaves.¬† It doesn't leave.¬† We know what our ultimate goal is to come home with that crystal ball.¬† So we take it one day at a time, one game at a time, one play at a time.¬† So for us it's making sure we stay motivated and have our eyes set.¬† K‑State is the next game in the way of us achieving what we're trying to accomplish this year.¬† We're trying to do something that hasn't been done.¬† So we'll continue to fight for each other and remind each other what the ultimate goal is.

Q.  What are the challenges with that offense?
DJ JOHNSON:  Aggression.  You have to be aggressive and physical with that guy when he runs the ball.  He's not one that's an elusive runner or a speed runner; he's just consistent.  If you hit him, you have to make sure he falls back.  That's one thing that a lot of people have a difficulty with is when they're making a tackle, him falling back.  He doesn't fall back too often.  He usually falls forward.  So that's another at least two yards there when he falls forward.
It's really being aggressive and making sure he's uncomfortable with everything that he's doing, making sure he makes more than one read and making him do more than just running the ball.

Q.  Can you talk about the rapport you see between Coach Kaufman and Coach Tuberville?  Because Coach Tuberville knew him from years ago and knew what he could do that Coach Tuberville has more faith in him than other defensive coordinators?
DJ JOHNSON:  I think I can't really speak on how they are together as much.  I know that Coach Tuberville lets us play, and he has fun with us.  It's something you saw a little bit in the past seasons.  But this year, you can really tell that he believes in this team.  He really believes in what we're capable of and the leadership.  The leadership that's really stepped up.  I feel like he takes pride in what we're doing.
I feel like between him and Kaufman, Kaufman respects Coach Tuberville, Tuberville respects Coach Kaufman.  Knowing his capabilities and what he's come from and recognizing his scheme and things we've done in spring ball.  So I feel like they have a great communication and a great understanding for each other and a great respect for each other.

Q.  You gave up a few big plays in the second half and a few touchdowns in overtime.  How impressed were you with the way you guys handled adversity in the third overtime?
DJ JOHNSON:  I wasn't very impressed to be honest with you.  I felt like we could have done better.  There were some things that we made mistakes that we shouldn't have made mistakes.  There were some things that shouldn't have happened.  We gave up a big play on 3rd and 20 that shouldn't have occurred at all.
So, for us, we're not impressed with that.  We have high expectations for each other and hold every player accountable.  You know, one thing we do when we break out, we break out on count on me after every practice.  So for us, it's really important that we do our job, and we're assignment sound and technique flawless.
So I'm not really impressed.  I feel like it shouldn't have gone into overtime.  We should have come out with that victory in regulation.  But I can say the fact that we did fight, I'm glad that we were able to do that and come out with a victory and get a stop on that last drive, and that last overtime and force them into a field goal.  We trusted our offense would get the job done, and they did.

Q.  With all that said, this type of game, a game you guys could have won last year?
DJ JOHNSON:  That's difficult.  I mean, the leadership wasn't there.  The team morale wasn't up like it is right now.  We weren't as confident in our abilities last year.  So it would have been a completely different ballgame.  Who knows if it would have gone into overtime.  I can't really speak on that.  All I can tell you is that this year we were able to get it done.
We're going to continue to have faith in each other and build on that camaraderie and understanding for each other and fight for each other.

Q.  You guys have had success on the road since Coach Tuberville has been here.  What are some of the keys to doing well in a hostile road environment?
DJ JOHNSON:  Being assignment sound.  They have a crowd there.  That crowd is excited, so you can't allow them to get big plays because then that gets the crowd into it.  Once the crowd gets into it, it continues to keep the players into it and hyped as well.  You have to stop that momentum before it starts or as soon as it starts.
It's kind of one of those things where like I know compared to basketball, someone goes on the road and you call a timeout to stop that run, to kind of calm everybody down.  That's one of those things that you have to stop it and nip it in the bud as soon as it begins.
The most important thing is to come out fast.  Come out fast and be assignment sound.

Q.  How much do you guys relish the opportunity to knock off West Virginia?  You have another chance to knock off another Top 5 team.  What do you guys think about that?
DJ JOHNSON:  It's big for us.  I mean, like I said, our ultimate goal is to win that Big 12 title.  So whether they're ranked or not ranked or in the Top 5 or not in the Top 5, our goal is to get the W.  So it makes it that much sweeter of the victory that if we're able to knock off another Heisman candidate or knock off another Top 5 team.
So it's a big game for us.  But there's nothing more important about this game than the game last week or the game before that, or the game after this.  We want to keep on winning and continue to win, so that is the most important thing.

Q.  Do you get a sense that the attitude of the team is good in terms of being able to handle the success and not kind of looking back and looking forward more than maybe what you've seen in the past?
DJ JOHNSON:  Definitely.  I feel, like I said, we know what we're capable of.  Last year we had an idea of what we were capable of.  I don't know if we really bought into it.  But for us to get a big victory last year, it was kind of like you rolled on that thing.  You stayed up there a little bit and enjoyed it a little bit to let it linger a little bit too much.
But this year we know after each game is over, we have another game to play.  So until the end of the season comes, we know that we have another game ahead of us.  We know we're going to continue to focus that next game.  We enjoy it for the time being, at that moment, at that night.
But come 3:30 Sunday afternoon, it's time to focus on another game plan.  It's time to focus on another team because they're in the way of us accomplishing what we're trying to accomplish.

Q.  While others are maybe surprised at the success you're having, you guys aren't.  How satisfying is that for you?
DJ JOHNSON:  I love it.  I said it before the season started.  People picked us to be 9th in the Big 12 and things like that.  We knew we were better than that.  It didn't really matter what people thought outside of that locker room.  We knew what we were capable of and that we believed in each other and we believed in what we could achieve.
So for us, it's just another opportunity to go out there and get better and showcase our talent.

Q.  When you got the pick off, how come you didn't score?
DJ JOHNSON:  I was running too fast, man.  Yeah, it wouldn't have mattered anyway.  But when I cut back, as soon as I called the pick, all I thought in my mind was like touchdown.  I was looking at the end zone, and I tried to cut back and cut back too fast, didn't let my blockers pick up.  It was my fault.  Yeah, I was excited about that.

Q.  Would that have been your first one in college?
DJ JOHNSON:  Yeah, it would have been my first one.  I hate that I missed on that.  Hopefully another one comes up to me this week or sooner.

Q.  (Indiscernible) can you talk about that a little bit?
DJ JOHNSON:  That's huge for us.  Any time you can get a turnover, that's great.  The first interception set up our offense to score.  That was huge.  That was a momentum shifter, and that was able to get our offense really just going.  Once they smelled the end zone, they knew what it was like to get in that end zone.  It was like ongoing from there.  You know what I mean?  So that was huge.
Then Cody Davis' interception was another big play.  I tipped the ball up to him.  He was there in the perfect position.  We don't really work tip drills, but I guess it's the thing that Cody and I have from being safeties together for two years that understanding.
Then also that knockdown was huge.  He fell on the ground and everything.  He told me, he was like, man, I read it, I knew it was coming, and we had talked about it on the sidelines like I know when they're going to run that route, but I don't want to jump it, and then they do something different, be out and up or something like that or just the hesitation.  But he broke on it perfectly.
Had he gotten that pick, I guarantee I would have been the first one there to make the block for him to lead it to the touchdown.

Q.¬† Talk about you guys have had this off‑the‑field thing and in the locker room, like who is going to get big plays and stuff.
DJ JOHNSON:  Definitely.  I told him before the game, I was like, I'm guaranteeing you I'm going to have more tackles than you.  He had 13 tackles last game, and that was huge.  I was like I can't let this man pull away from us on tackles.  We just battle each other.  And we look at each other and he may say something to me like, D.J., I'm going to make the play this week or I'll tell him I'm going to make the play this week.  I'm going to change the game.
We're a brotherhood.  We're a family.  We believe in each other and support each other and got each other's back.

Q.  Just a few weeks ago after the Oklahoma game, there are people maybe muttering that Seth wasn't the guy outside the locker room.  He's rebounded and now people are talking about him with the Heisman.  As teammates, what is your opinion of how he's handled things the whole time?
DJ JOHNSON:  We've had faith in him from day one.  Everybody's not going to have a good game.  You're not going to have a great game every game in this Big 12 Conference or in college football period.  There are not too many people that just go out there and every game they just shine like the sun.  You know what I mean?
We have faith in him.  We continue to have faith in him.  I told him, hey, don't care about anything else.  When you go out there this Saturday, I've told him that since that game, since the struggle against OU or whatever.  And then those first couple of weeks like you go out there and no matter what is, you have fun, you enjoy yourself.  Don't worry about what anybody else thinks, the media or anything like that.  You go out there and play football.  You know how to play football.  You know what got you here to this Big 12 opportunity.  So you have to showcase it, and go out there and have fun.  That's what he's been doing.

Q.  If you win this game, you're tied in first place for the Big 12.  Does that make this game more important than others?
DJ JOHNSON:  No.  It doesn't make it more important than others.  Like I said, if this was a normal, like a team that was unranked, if we lost this game, then the rest of the season would be a little bit iffy, you know what I mean?
So for us it's just the next game.  It's the most important game because it's the next game.  We win this game and we're one step closer to our goal.  We win the next game, we're one step closer to that goal.  That's how we think about it.  We don't focus too much on being a Top 5 team or anything like that.  We focus on it being the next game and us having to go out there and accomplish our goal.

Q.¬† You guys have played pretty much every kind of game.¬† You've played the low‑scoring games.¬† How much confidence does that give you as a team knowing that you can play in whatever game?
DJ JOHNSON:  It gives us a lot of confidence.  The one thing we really harp on is not being cocky.  We don't want to be overconfident.  We want to make sure when you see us, you see confidence, but you see humbleness and modesty.  We want to go out there and you want to see that swagger about us and know that when we're there, you feel the presence, but we don't want to overdo it.
We try to keep each other level headed just discussing with each other.  Hey, man, we haven't done anything yet.  Just because we beat West Virginia or TCU, we still haven't done anything yet or haven't accomplished what we're trying to accomplish.  We keep our mind focused on that, and that humbles us.  We still know there are other teams out there that have a great opportunity and have an opportunity to do the same thing that we're doing.
So we just have to maintain that confidence that we've always had since the beginning of the season, since spring ball, also maintain a level‑headedness.

Q.  Talk about (Indiscernible).
DJ JOHNSON:  Oh, he's a great player, man.  He told me last year this was going to be his breakout year.  This was going to be the season he was going to do his thing.  He's put on a little more weight.  He's more comfortable down there.  He knows what to expect out of the Big 12 offensive linemen.  He does his thing.
During the game, man, he was out there.  I could just tell every time we bull rushed to do something, he was like you can't guard me.  You can't stop me.  That was exciting.  I'm one of the guys, you can ask guys out there, I talk trash.  I try to get in your head.  You know what I mean?
So it's just fun to be out there with each other and see him doing the things that he's doing.¬† Our defensive line is doing a great job.¬† Actually, Dartwan Bush won player of the game for this game.¬† I think he had six tackles, two sacks, and a hurry‑up, so that's huge.¬† That's huge for us.¬† It gives us time to make plays and also guard those receivers.¬† They're doing a great job down there.

Q.  No. 11, Dawson.  (Indiscernible)?
DJ JOHNSON:  It was us.  It didn't have much to do with him.  We weren't assignment sound.  When we were on our assignments, we made plays against him, and there wasn't much he could do.
But credit the guy.  He's a good receiver.  He was able to make things happen.  But for us, it was assignments and we just weren't doing our assignments.  There were some things we were a little vague on or a little cloudy when they did some adjustments we hadn't seen.  We practiced things, but someone always comes out there with something new you haven't seen.  Just so happened when they came out with those things, he was the guy that got the ball.  He was the guy that did those things we haven't seen.
It was definitely just us, our assignments and technique, and we have to continue to get better at that.

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