When asked if Arizona transfer Richard Kovalcheck can pick up the offense quickly enough to help at quarterback in Game 1, Johnson quipped: “Like they say, ‘It’s not rocket surgery. It’s football.’ “ Obviously, this was an intentional misstatement of two football axioms: “It’s not rocket science” and “It’s not brain surgery.”
When asked about the controversial “celebration” penalty on Commodore wideout Earl Bennett that may have cost Vandy an overtime win at Florida last fall, Johnson quipped: “This little lady from Minnesota wrote me a letter that said: Coach, the Southern Baptists allow more dancing than what Earl did.’ “
Moments later, Johnson was at it again: Asked if he called the SEC Office following the controversial celebration penalty against Bennett, the coach deadpanned: “Yes, I called the SEC Office … but I won’t tell you WHAT I called them.”
On another occasion, Johnson was asked about the benefits of having a high-profile quarterback like Jay Cutler, who was a first-round NFL Draft pick last April. The coach replied: “It was great. It helped recruiting. It helped season-ticket sales. My wife liked me a lot better.”
Near the end of his chat, however, Johnson turned quite serious when asked about the challenge outmanned Vanderbilt faces competing in the rugged SEC, year in and year out.
“I don’t care how good we ever get at Vanderbilt,” he said. “If we’re recruiting like we want to year after year after year and building our depth, we’re still going to have to battle for every game we every play in this league. The teams that are up there ahead of us now are not going to back up. They’re going to get better, too.”