AUBURN, Ala. — Kerryon Johnson wouldn’t necessarily say football under Chip Lindsey has been more fun this fall, but there is a “different vibe” under Auburn football’s new offensive coordinator.
“Like I’ve always said, he’s just not quite as forward or loud or yelling, but he’s a fantastic teacher,” Johnson said. “He teaches you things, he teaches you about the game of football every single day. He hammers in the details just like any other coach and I think that’s the biggest difference.”
At Madison Academy in Huntsville, Ala., Johnson gained experience running routes and catching passes. Playing under Lindsey has elicited a sense of deja vu.
There are different schemes and more run-pass options, forcing players to be more versatile. More to do, however, means growing into a complete football player — and Johnson is OK with that process, even if it’s difficult.
“You’ve got to learn the fronts, you’ve got to learn the defense, you’ve got to learn the blitz possibilities, you’ve got to learn to pick up the blitz, you’ve got to learn to receive. You’ve got to learn the routes,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot more things you have to be concerned with and that’s a good thing. That’s only going to help us in the future.
“I’m not ready to say it’s more fun. I think maybe it takes a little pressure off. Maybe you’re more free, I guess.”
Coach Gus Malzahn has given Lindsey control of Auburn’s offense. Johnson loves his head coach because he’s so intense and hands on, but the rising junior also respects Malzahn for letting go.
“Now he’s found other ways to occupy his time with other football related things,” Johnson said. “And just get more involved in player to player contact, and more special teams things, but I think it’s just a different vibe with Coach Lindsey.”
Lindsey admits he’s leaned on Malzahn a lot. Change isn’t easy, but for Auburn football there’s a refreshing new feeling on the Plains.
“From the standpoint of my relationship with him [Malzahn], it’s been great,” Lindsey said. “We’re on the same page, obviously, from what we’re doing offensively. I think it’s been a really smooth transition.”