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Huskers teammates now are trying out for Rams defense
Trevor Johnson, Adam Carriker seek spot on team
BY STEVE KORTE
ST. LOUIS --
As a senior defensive end at the University of Nebraska, Trevor Johnson didn't want his backup, freshman Adam Carriker, spelling him for long.
"I never wanted him to sub in for me because if he subbed in for too long, he might take my position," Johnson said. "He was big back then. I think he was around 260 and strong as an ox. He played really well for us as a freshman."
Johnson and Carriker are teammates once again, this time with the St. Louis Rams.
Carriker is a rookie starter at nose tackle, while Johnson is a reserve defensive end fighting for a roster spot.
"He is just a reliable, steady football player," Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said of Johnson. "He's smart. He's dependable. You know where he is going to be all the time. He does everything right. He's bulked up to play defensive end here, and we like him. He has a good shot of making our team."
Johnson registered a sack on the first play of his first preseason game with the Rams. He tackled Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson for no gain on a third-and-9 play early in the second quarter of the Rams' 13-10 win over the Vikings on Saturday night.
"Leonard (Little) had been getting a real nice pass rush off the edge, making the guy scramble up the middle. I had an idea that might happen again because he's a scrambling quarterback. I saw him took off, and I came back underneath and got him. It was pretty exciting my first play as a Ram to get a sack."
Johnson nearly added an interception in the game on a pass by Vikings backup quarterback Brooks Bollinger in the third quarter.
"By the time I turned my head around, the ball was in the air," Johnson said. "Initially, I just thought about tipping it and getting a pass breakup, but as it got closer, I realized I had a better chance of intercepting it. I've had a little taste of it, and I wish I could have had that one."
Johnson had two interceptions in the New York Jets' 20-17 preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005. He played linebacker, not defensive end, for the Jets in that game.
Johnson grew up in Lincoln, Neb., the son of Robert Johnson, a former three-time captain for the Huskers' wrestling team.
"I was a huge Nebraska fan," Johnson said. "I was one of the more hard-core fans out there. I didn't have the opportunity to go to all the games. Maybe once a year. I either watched them on TV or listened to them on the radio with my dad."
Johnson played tight end and defensive end at Lincoln Northeast High School. He caught 42 passes for 736 yards and 10 touchdowns his senior season.
He was recruited as a tight end by the Huskers, but he switched to rush end during his sophomore season.
"They asked me if I wanted to switch to defensive end, and I saw it as a great opportunity because of the past defensive ends that had been at Nebraska," Johnson said.
Nebraska has gotten the reputation of being "Defensive End U." in recent years. The list of former Huskers defensive ends in the NFL has included Grant Wistrom, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Mike Rucker, Chris Kelsey, Jared Tomich and Benard Thomas.
Johnson said he got to meet Wistrom, who played for the Rams from 1998-2003, through his younger brother, Tracey Wistrom, who played tight end for the Huskers.
"I was friends with Tracey," Johnson said. " I roomed with him during games. Then I had a chance to go to some of the Grant Wistrom golf tournaments that he had held back in Lincoln."
Johnson led all Huskers defensive linemen in tackles (68) and tackles for loss (9) as a senior. He capped his college career by earning Defensive MVP honors in Nebraska's 17-3 Alamo Bowl win over Michigan State.
Johnson was selected in the seventh round (234th overall player taken) of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Jets.
Johnson played in all 16 regular-season games and two playoff games in his rookie season with the Jets. He was cut by the Jets three games into the 2006 season.
New Orleans signed Johnson late in 2006 season. He had four tackles in the Saints' regular season finale against Carolina on Dec. 31.
The Rams claimed Johnson off waivers after he was released by the Saints.
Johnson weighed around 255 pounds as a linebacker, but he's bulked up to 270 pounds to play defensive end for the Rams.
Johnson is battling Eric Moore and rookie Alton Pettway for a roster spot at defensive end behind starters James Hall and Little and backup Victor Adeyanju, a fourth-round draft pick in 2006 who started nine games as a rookie.
Linebacker Tim McGarigle didn't practice on Monday after suffering a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury. ... Defensive tackle La'Roi Glover was held out of practice after an MRI showed swelling in the groin muscle that has been bothering him. ... Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick practiced on a limited basis because of a bruised sternum suffered against the Vikings on Saturday. ... Adeyanju worked some at defensive tackle on Monday. Rams coach Scott Linehan said moving Adeyanju, known more as a run stopper at defensive end, to defensive tackle could enhance his value in passing situations.
Re: Huskers teammates now are trying out for Rams defense
anyone who makes us better is okay with me!RnD
Re: Huskers teammates now are trying out for Rams defenseHe has a good shot of making our team. -- Coach Haslett
Hey, I like the sound of that! :r
Would really like to see Trevor as DE along with Adeyanju, Hall, Little, and Moore. Can we do that?
-08-17-2007 #4Registered User
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Re: Huskers teammates now are trying out for Rams defense
Why can't we look at this guy at LB?
We've got enough DE's, and could really use some size at LB?
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