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March 27, 2013

Lyndell Johnson talks to the media about his move to safety

News broke that linebacker Lyndell Johnson would be moving to strong safety at some point this spring, but today was the first time Johnson got to talk about it.

He stood in the corner of the pressroom, towering over reporters at 6'3, but still looking as wiry as a football player can look in his third year of division one football.

And for him, that's the exact problem. He can't keep on the weight necessary to play the linebacker position on every down of the ballgame.

He excelled last season in the Star LB position, which he calls "a hybrid of a linebacker and a safety" while Mike Gundy said the same. But that position isn't on the field every down, which isn't in Johnson's plans.

"Coming from high school playing safety, it's going to bring back the old days," he said. "It's nothing new."

"The way they explained Star was that it was a third safety. It was something new so I gave it a shot."

But when spring rolled around this year, Johnson decided to go have a talk with his coaches and share an idea he had-A move back to his high school spot at strong safety, currently held by Shamiel Gary.

"Yeah (it was my idea)," he said. "I feel like I've been here awhile, I'm about to be a junior. I feel like I can be an every down player, so I just want to put myself in the best position and have a shot to compete."

He's already hard at work in competition with Gary, who struggled mightily at times in 2012. Part of that can be chalked up to a soft scheme that cornerback Justin Gilbert called "frustrating at times", but it's no secret that Gary didn't live up to the hype when the season was said and done.

Now, he has a competition on his hands to keep his spot, and his opponent isn't going away anytime soon.

"It's a friendly competition, but at the end of the day he knows I'm coming for his job," Johnson said. "We're here for each other on and off the field no matter what, but I'm coming."


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