Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zac Johnson Answers Your Questions

Johnson celebrates with his teammate after a
2008 special teams touchdown.
Although he entered the program as a walk-on, former safety Zac Johnson eventually earned a scholarship by providing depth at his position, pushing players on the practice field, and becoming a "special teams demon."  Zac finished his Michigan career with 39 game appearances, 17 special teams tackles and two Academic All-Big Ten nominations.  Perhaps his most prestigious accomplishment and recognition, however, was garnering a #43 ranking in the 2009 edition of this very blog's notorious and annual Countdown series.  Zac recently took a few moments out of his day to talk about his time at Michigan and answer several reader questions.

Special teams success:  "The main things in order to be successful on special teams is that you need to be an aggressive player, channel your aggression, and have the will to win at the end of every play.

Most unheralded teammate:  "Someone who comes to mind is Mark Moundros.  He's played offense, he's played defense, he's been a great speaker - he was a role model on our team.  He was a guy that I really looked up to and really admired, and I think everyone on the team did."

Differences between the coaching staffs:  "All three coaches are great guys, and they all taught me a lot.  Coach Carr really showed me what it takes to be a Michigan man, and he really instilled integrity and character in me.  Coach Rodriguez was an intelligent offensive coach, and that is where his emphasis was.  Coach Hoke was a defensive-minded coach from his background, as a D-line coach.  Most of it comes from their background.  I finished with Coach Hoke my senior year, and I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out.

Sugar Bowl victory:  "Oh, man, that was the best feeling.  To go through everything we went through, the struggles - but even in the struggles you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you too.  But to win the Sugar Bowl reminded me of the Schembechler quote, 'Those who stay will be champions.'"

Three and Out:  "No, I didn't get a chance to read that yet, actually. . . .Yeah, I have an interest in reading it.  It's one of those things where it hasn't been a top priority.  I definitely plan to read it, though."

Putting football in the past:  "I've played football here for the past five years.  I did Pro Day for the NFL, and I didn't get picked up by the NFL; I only got a shot at Arena or CFL.  I decided beforehand that if I didn't get a shot at the NFL that I was going to be done playing football.  With the stress that's been on my body, I've had numerous injuries - it just comes with the game.  But right now, I'm currently working at Merrill Lynch, doing some financial consulting. . . .One of the biggest things that Michigan football has taught me is how to perform under high pressure situations, how to meet deadlines, and how to do those things as part of a team."

Expectations for Team 133:  ". . . .The thing about college football is any team can win on any given day.  That's something that I learned as a freshman.  My first game at Michigan Stadium was a loss to Appalachian State. . . . But that's what makes it such a great sport to watch.  Every week matters.  And nowadays, every team, no matter how big or small they are, have some talent on it.  It's about the team that comes ready to play on that day."

Zac's message:  "This is something I've thought about before.  I always try to leave with some kind of message, just so I feel like there's a purpose, so I came up with a quote here today - 'Learn how to fuel your goals and your dreams; a great vision and a great work ethic will propel you beyond what you can see.'  That is my advice; you have to have purpose in all that you do."

Choices for 2012 breakout players:  Blake Countess and Jerald Robinson  

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