As part of last week’s Big Ten Media Days, The Daily Gopher had the opportunity to speak with and ask a handful of questions of each of the three student-athlete representatives that accompanied head coach P.J. Fleck to Chicago.
Our last player interview was with Tyler Johnson.
On wide receivers coach Matt Simon:
“He played a big role in my development. Him being able to teach me the small details, to route run, break points, and things like that. He helped me carry over a lot of things off the field to on the field, and on the field to off the field, to help me become a better individual.”
On what has changed the most since his freshman season:
“My work ethic. Being able to get in on my own time and be able to find things I can get better at.”
On the decision to return for his senior season:
“It was pretty difficult. I talked to friends, family, old coaches, my teammates. I had a lot of thoughts about the future of this program that came into play. I asked myself, ‘Do I think I’m ready for [the NFL]?’ When I came to a decision, I talked to Coach Fleck about it and he was pretty happy when I told him.”
On his relationship last season with the underclassmen wide receivers:
“It was pretty cool. They all looked up to me as soon as they got on campus. During camp, any time they had a question, they asked me. I thought that was very good for our program, to be able to have the younger guys ask the older guys questions. It’s pretty much like that with every position group. We’ve got a lot of people that have played a lot of football and a lot of guys that are young that haven’t played too much but they’re comfortable asking the vet in their group what they should do on certain plays or how they can get better.”
On the feeling in the locker room ahead of the Axe game:
“During that week, the energy was high every time we walked into the [practice] facility. It was great feeling the positive energy around [us]. I remember at the start of the game Coach Fleck told us just to, ‘Be a kid and play. Just play.’ That’s what we went out there and did, and we had a lot of fun.”
On what it meant, as a Minnesota native, to beat Wisconsin:
“It meant a lot. Just to be able to go out there and hold the Axe, pick it up and run around the field with it. Words can’t even describe that feeling.”