UK Football

UK Q and A: Johnson hungry for some 'smashmouth'

Kentucky middle linebacker Micah Johnson was having the game of his career against Middle Tennessee State when he went down with a high ankle sprain in the first half. Johnson missed the Western Kentucky game but will be dressed and available for Saturday's game at Alabama. Johnson talked this week about the injury and his season so far.

Question: How's the ankle feel, and do you expect to play?

Answer: I've been practicing the past couple of days, and it's been getting better every day. I'd say I'm about 80 percent. Certain things that I do set it off a little bit, but I think I'll give it a go. There's no pressure, though. If the defense is playing good and everything is going right, there's really no need for me to go in.

Q: Alabama plays a physical style of offense, which places more of an emphasis on linebacker play. Does that make you want to play even more?

A: That's one of the parts that hurts. We've been playing all these teams that spread it out, and Alabama plays smashmouth football. That's the kind of game I've been waiting on and wanting to play in. I want to play so bad against them because everybody thinks they're the best. Their running backs have gotten a lot of attention, and individually, you want to play against the best.

Q: What gives the ankle the most difficulty when you're out there?

A: It flares up more against the pass, when I get to dropping back and changing directions it hurts more. When it comes to attacking downhill, it doesn't bother me.

Q: Is the pain something you'll have to deal with for a while?

A: To heal correctly, they say it takes four to six weeks, and we're not even in the third week. It's something that will be there, but I can play through it.

Chip Cosby