Question: Could the one big difference this year be that because of injury and academics you didn't play last year and now you are playing and playing well?
Johnson: "I can't say I deserve any credit to be honest. I feel like I help, but then again there is somebody who could play my position and do just as good or better than me. I feel like the difference is that the whole offensive line has come together a lot better and we are a lot closer. We worked hard over the summer. Before every game, I can look in my offensive linemen's eyes and know we are going to get the job done and that's all we want to do."
Question: Is the line meaner and nastier this year?
Johnson: "We are. We are a lot more physical, a lot more mean and nasty. That's one of the things we said we had to do this year. It is kind of funny seeing that. It gets pretty ugly watching films. You can see some things where we are doing this and will go after somebody or we may get mad and give somebody a shot to the helmet or something just to show we are here to fight and it will be a long game when you have to go against our offensive line."
Question: So it is okay to call you guys The Big Nasties?
Johnson: "Yes it is. That's what we want to be known as. If you have a good offensive line, defenses know when they come into the game it is going to be a long game and we are going to be in there face and try to knock them down and try to show them who is boss. That is what offensive lines have to do. Who is going to win this battle on every play will usually win the game.
Question: Did the offensive line feel extra pressure to perform even better after quarterback Mike Hartline was injured?
Johnson: "We had to play better seeing we had young quarterbacks who had not really played. Defenses were keying on that and we knew they would try to stop our run game so we would have to pass and then they would blitz the house to shake them up. It didn't put more pressure on us, but it just increased our sense of awareness and we really had to play well and help our quarterback out."
Question: Who is the nastiest guy in the offensive line?
Johnson: "I don't know. This past game I would say Zipp Duncan was the nastiest. There is one play a guy had thrown Zipp down and Zipp got mad. If you watch the film, you see the next play that Zipp just drives the guy off the camera and then goes after him some more that you can see. Those are the things we like. We get a laugh out of it, but those are things that people look at. Defensive lines and linebackers really look at those things, so we have to keep that type of motivation and that type of passion up to make sure people know what we can do to them."
Question: Were you happy at halftime when coach Rich Brooks said the offensive line had to take over the game at Vanderbilt last week and UK eventually rushed for 308 yards?
Johnson: "I expect that. We all do. Our line has to control the offense. If we have a good game, the offense will do well. When he said it, we knew what we had to do. There was nothing more to be said and we ran the ball a heck of a lot. It showed we were doing what we needed to do."
Question: How does that win rank among your bigger wins at Kentucky considering what was at stake for your season?
Johnson: "It is big. We lost to Mississippi State and that hurt us. That would have helped us with bowl games, but now we are bowl eligible four straight years and that's never been done. It was an away game, so that makes it feel good."
Question: Was this about as close as you could get to a perfect game for an offensive lineman?
Johnson: "It was nearly perfect. After a game like this, you got your job done and felt great but then your body lets you know that you worked hard. You are sore, tired and want to sit down. That lets you know you did what you had to do today and helped my running backs out and the coaches told us to get this win and we controlled the game, so we are happy."
Question: How good is Georgia?
Johnson: "Georgia's a good team. I feel they have a great defense and defensive line. I'm pretty sure they're real good at stopping the rush; I think they're right behind Alabama at third (in the SEC). That has been one of our offense's key parts in winning games, so we're going to have to get ready to play a really physical game."
Question: How nice is it to already be bowl eligible?
Johnson: "It feels good to know you're bowl eligible but you can't get complacent. We really need to win another one. Not just for the bowl game, but a seven- or eight-win season would be huge for Kentucky, it's my last year and it would be huge to go out on that note."
Kentucky at Georgia
7:45 p.m. Saturday, Athens, Ga.
* RADIO/WEBCAST: WRNZ-FM (105.1) and www.ukathletics.com
* TELEVISION: ESPN2
Wildcats: 6-4 (2-4 SEC)
Bulldogs: 6-4 (4-3 SEC)
* LAST MEETING (11-8-08): Georgia 42-38
* FAST FACT: Kentucky has won consecutive road conference games for the first time since 2002.