Tulane’s Patrick Johnson poised for another strong season
Tulane returned to action for its fourth spring practice
NEW ORLEANS – In 2018, every Tulane opponent knew that No. 34 was having an incredible season for the Green Wave. The only person who didn’t know No. 34 was having a great season was No. 34 himself – Patrick Johnson.
Johnson said It wasn’t until the eighth game of the season that he realized he was having a pretty good year.
“I’ve never really been a stats guy,” Johnson said. “I’m just a team player and I just try to go out there and win for my team.”
Although the Chattanooga, Tennessee, native may not be a “stats guy”, his numbers were impossible to ignore. In 2018, Johnson posted one of the finest seasons in school history, as he finished the year with 10.5 sacks and 16.0 tackles for loss.
“As a player I was confident enough in my game to know that I was capable of having a season like I had last year,” Johnson said. “The coaches that I have here at Tulane really taught me the scheme of the game and they made it really easy for me. I just had to go out there and produce and show them that I could do it.”
Johnson’s 10.5 sacks ranked second in The American and 12th nationally a year ago. His super sophomore campaign saw him post at least one tackle for loss in nine straight games and record one sack in seven straight games.
“When you have guys out on the field that are making plays, it brings confidence to the team,” Johnson said. “It also makes you feel like they are going to do their job, so you can just focus in on yourself and what you need to do.
“My playing style is one to where I can pass rush and one to where I can drop back into coverage. I’m confident with what I am doing, so that makes things a lot easier.”
In 2018, Johnson helped anchor a defensive line that recorded 41 sacks, which led The American and ranked eighth nationally. Tulane’s 41 sacks as a team a year ago were the most by a Green Wave defensive unit since 2002 when the team totaled 48.
The Green Wave’s 41 sacks ranked third all-time for a single season.
With the return of Johnson and fellow defensive line teammates Jeffery Johnson, Cameron Sample and De’Andre Williams, head coach Willie Fritz feels confident about the strength of his returning unit.
“The best pass defense is a good rush, and we’ve got some guys who are natural pass-rushers,” Fritz said. “We’re a much stronger football team now.”
TULANE COMPLETES DAY FOUR OF CAMP
The Green Wave concluded its fourth spring practice on Tuesday, wearing pads for the second consecutive practice. The team is now more than one quarter of the way through its spring schedule.
Following practice, head coach Willie Fritz spoke highly of new graduate transfer offensive lineman Christian Montano. The Brown transfer is likely to be Tulane’s starting center in the fall, moving rising junior Corey Dublin over to guard.
“[Montano] just is obviously a highly intelligent guy, he’s got good football sense and he’s getting better in practice,” Fritz said. “He’s a lot battler, he’s got a competitive streak in him that I really like, he finishes blocks. He’s just going to be a good player for us.”
Tulane’s spring practice continues Thursday and concludes Saturday, April 13 with the annual spring game at Yulman Stadium.
Tulane opens the 2019 season on Thursday, August 29 at home against FIU with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.
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Remaining Spring Football Practice Schedule
Date: Practice # – Time
Thursday, March 21: Practice #5 – 8:30-10 a.m.
Thursday, March 21: Pro Day – Noon (will be held at the New Orleans Saints Indoor Facility)
Saturday, March 23: Practice #6 – 8:30-10 a.m.
Tuesday, March 26: Practice #7 – 8:30-10 a.m.
Thursday, March 28: Practice #8 – 8:30-10 a.m.
Saturday, March 30: Practice #9 – 8:30-10 a.m.
Monday, April 2: Practice #10 – 8:30-10 a.m.
Thursday, April 4: Practice #11 – 8:30-10 a.m.
Saturday, April 6: Practice #12 – 8:30-10 a.m.
Tuesday, April 9: Practice #13 – 8:30-10 a.m.
Thursday, April 11: Practice #14 – 8:30-10 a.m.
Saturday, April 13: Spring Game – 8:30-10 a.m.
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