August 9, 2007

Notebook: LB ready for breakout season

Junior Merrill Johnson knew he would be depended on this season. The starting weakside backer always is.

But when Steve Gandy, Johnson's back-up, was forced to give up football earlier this week, Johnson's role became even more important.

With Gandy out, Johnson would be getting more reps, which in turn meant he needed to be in top-shape.

Good thing for Johnson, he spent the last six months doing that.

As a sophomore in 2006, Johnson played in all 13 games racking up 35 tackles, but admits, his stamina wasn't where it needed to be. Midway through the season, Johnson, who was just below 200 pounds at the time, was tired. His body wasn't able to take the grind of a 13-game season in the SEC.

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