Technical Mind: Johnson blends technical aptitude with 'do anything' attitude
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Sept. 28, 2006 - Playing on the Wildcats' defensive line requires a lot of technique when taking on blocks. It may help senior DaMarcus Johnson that he has a technical mind.

Johnson (6-0, 215), a two-year letterman at defensive end for Sulphur Springs, has plans on a career in computer science. So, breaking down the techniques for playing football comes naturally for him.

It may be an unlikely combination, but Johnson said computers and football are two of his passions.

"I really want to design a computer and make one. It's always been a dream of mine to be around computers and make them," he said. "Right now, I'm trying to fix mine."

In the next breath, he adds, "I love playing D-line. I love being around a lot of people who like to play football. I like playing outside and containing the quarterback. But, I'll do anything to get on the field."

That attitude is what SSHS defensive coordinator Steve Hale first noticed when he joined the coaching staff in the spring.

"The thing I like about DaMarcus is that when I first got here, he was a kid who caught my eye because of his work ethic," Hale explained. "He stayed extra every day and did all the things he needed to do to improve as a football player.

"Our D-line requires a lot of technical stuff. They have to react on three blocks, and DaMarcus took the initiative to be able to learn that and play fast."

On Friday, the Wildcats changed from a three-man line to a four-man front, and in his starting role Johnson had three tackles including one for a loss. But, Hale said it was a play against Whitehouse that demonstrated Johnson's ability.

On that play, Johnson sniffed out a screen when the running back didn't show him enough pressure. He reached out grabbed the back and threw him to the ground.

"DaMarcus gives us a lot of speed on the outside and he's strong enough to hold up on the inside when we need him," Hale said. "His attitude is unbelievable. He's going to do whatever you ask him to do with a smile on his face. He's played through some injuries and played hard."

Usually, the Wildcats go with a three-man front which allows the down linemen to get double-teamed, which expends a lot of energy for a lineman. For that reason - plus being deep at the position - the Wildcats utilize a six-man rotation.

"It all starts with D-line because you have to get a lot of rush on passes and get a stand-still on running plays," Johnson said. "We do a lot of man-on-man stuff. It's a real challenge."

He means "challenge" in a good way. Coaches notice his upbeat attitude, even on days when it's hot, players are tired and coaches are running on a short fuse.

"I try to come to practice with a good attitude. Even though we lose some and win some, we're still a team and have to play together," Johnson said. "I just try to come in with a good attitude, because if one person has a good attitude, then it makes everyone around them have a good attitude.

"Anything they ask me to do, I do it to the best of my ability."

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