CHRIS JOHNSON CONFERENCE CALL SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 2008
RB CHRIS JOHNSON**
(on the Titans interest in him throughout the draft process)
It all started early and then when I came in for my visit, I reunited with another East Carolina back that is a coach out there now [Earnest Byner]. Talking with them through the whole process, I kind of had an idea. I had a great visit up there. Talking just to the coaching staff and talking with Jeff Fisher he already had planned what he would do for me if I was up there as far as in the offense. They really hadn't expanded on my role but for me to contribute and stuff like that. Yesterday I heard that they were afraid that I wouldn't be there if they passed on me with the pick or that they may not be there when they pick at 24. I was glad to get that call.
(on what his role may be in the offense)
I'm not quite sure but I know I will probably have to help in the return game and usually for a player to go in the first round they usually contribute on offense or if they pick a defensive player on defense. Whatever they want me to do, I will do it.
(on his punt return experience)
I have never done it in a game, but I have practiced it at school and stuff like that. I met with the special teams coach and he said he would work with me with it until I feel comfortable at getting back there to return the punts.
(on his comparisons with the other backs in the draft)
I feel like I compare great with them. I feel like I was one of the top backs. When you watch the draft, [Darren] McFadden went at four, then Jonathan Stewart went at 13 and then the next three backs went back to back. I feel like I compare up there with the top backs.
(on how much he has gotten to know Earnest Byner throughout the whole process)
We have been talking since the Combine and Senior Bowl. Even before he went with Tennessee, he got in contact with me and we used to talk. He just told me to stay focused and keep working hard. Now knowing that I'm going to be reunited with him, it is great because we always kid around about me breaking his records and stuff like that.
(on how he ended up at East Carolina and who else he was recruited by)
Coming out of school, my grades weren't where they were supposed to be at the time. Eventually, I got my grades up to where they were supposed to be. Then when I got my grades up, East Carolina were the only ones that sat there and stuck by me. I kept it loyal and went to East Carolina.
(on playing wide receiver coming out of high school)
That is nothing but a rumor when they say I came out as a receiver. When I came out, I came out as a running back and that is another reason that helped me choose East Carolina because Connecticut wanted me to play cornerback and a couple other schools said I was a receiver. They were giving me a chance at East Carolina to play running back. My junior year when I was hurt so I was moved around to the slot to do some screens and stuff at running back. I feel I have great hands so I feel I will do well at the next level.
(on what NFL running back he compares himself to)
A faster Brian Westbrook.
(on how fast he is and what is his best 40-yard dash time)
I ran a 4.24 this year at the Combine.
(on working in tandem with LenDale White)
I feel that will be great because as far as the NFL a lot of the teams are going to the two-back system. Going in there it won't be like having a grudge match with Lendale on anything like that. I'm going to come in a do my best. I'm sure he is going to do his best and at the end of the day if they want one back then the best back is going to play. If they want to build to a two-back system then I'm fine with that. I feel like I compare good with LenDale.
(on where he watched the draft)
At my Aunt C's house in Orlando.
(on if team's went away from him because of his neck injury)
No. No teams really did shy away from it. That is why I went to the Combine and stayed in the hospital all those hours so they can make sure they know what they are getting – X-rays, MRI's and all that. They looked over all those things and then I guess they felt I was great. I didn't fail any physicals of any teams. It went well.
(on how many games he missed with the injury)
It was the end of my sophomore year. I didn't miss any time with that injury. I only missed three games because of a turf toe injury.
(on what other NFL teams seemed interested)
It was the Eagles, Dallas, the Redskins, Arizona that were saying they wanted me. I guess they just passed over me.
(on if he has been to Nashville)
Only for my visit.
(on how much he knows about the Titans and Vince Young)
I watched Vince Young all through college and I would love to work with him. Coach Fished showed me some plays and the kind of plays they run with Vince Young and stuff that I kind of ran in college. I would love to just get there with Vince Young and try to take us to a Super Bowl.
(on going through a coaching change at East Carolina)
My freshman year I had Coach John Thompson and then my sophomore year is when the coaching change switched. I had to get a new playbook with Skip Holtz.
(on if Skip Holtz is more offense oriented)
Yes. He is more offense oriented. Skip Holtz's whole offense is just to get the ball in the playmakers hands. Whoever his playermaker is for the year that person is going to get the ball and show there skills.
(on having an impact as a rookie)
I'm pretty sure I can. I know it is going to be tough to adjust. I'm going to keep working hard like always and just do my best.