Go easy on Ellis Johnson.
A few of you have e-mailed or posted on the blog, all fired up because Johnson has expressed interest in a couple of jobs. I get where you’re coming from – shouldn’t Johnson be worried about the job he has? etc, etc – but I think some of it’s misplaced angst left over from the E-Cook situation.
Look, Johnson likes living here. He’s a half-hour away from his brothers in Winnsboro and he’s back in the state retirement system.
His wife likes living here. She’s a Columbia High grad and goes to church with family members most Sundays.
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It just so happened that two jobs came open that Johnson has ties to. He was the DC at Miss. State under Sly Croom and spent a knob year at West Point before returning to The Citadel in the early ‘70s.
Johnson turns 57 next week. He’d like to be a head coach again, but it’s not like he’s blanketing the country with resumes. (I haven’t heard him say anything about the Chattanooga opening.)
If Johnson really wanted to leave USC, you don’t think he could have joined his buddy, Dabo Swinney, at Clemson? Of course, there would be that little $1.1 million buyout to work out (waived if Johnson leaves for a head-coaching gig).
Anyway, I think worrying about where Johnson’s head is should be the least of fans’ concerns. He spends as much time, if not more, than any of the USC coaches reviewing video and preparing game plans.
Currently, he’s trying to figure out how to stop Iowa tailback Shonn Greene. It’s déjà vu all over again for Johnson, who in his final game at Miss. State came up with a scheme to hold UCF tailback Kevin Smith 70 yards below his nation-leading average in the Liberty Bowl.
Will the Gamecocks’ D do the same with Greene? Don’t know, but it got a lot tougher when Cook was declared ineligible.
But if they don’t, it won’t be because Johnson had a friend call Army.