Dorian Johnson talked recently with 93.7 FM The Fan about a number of things, including heading to Pitt for 2013. The lineman had some interesting comments about playing next season:
"They said they could see me, maybe, getting some playing time next year, because there are a couple open spots," Johnson said of Chryst, offensive line coach Jim Hueber, and offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph. "I know that doesn’t happen too often on the offensive line, so I wouldn’t be upset if I redshirted. But I’m definitely going to work my hardest…to play as soon as possible. I’m going to be going against kids who are just as strong and just as fast as me, but I think the best thing I have is the will to get better, and to work as hard as I possibly can to better myself."
I went over this a bit in a post recently, wondering aloud if Johnson could start. Many fans assumed because he was one of the top offensive line prospects in the nation that it would be a given he'd not only be playing in 2013 but starting. But with many players returning from the unit, nothing's really guaranteed.
The encouraging thing is that Johnson appears to be willing to accept the redshirt. Who knows what he's really thinking and if he doesn't get on the field this year, I can't imagine there wouldn't be some disappointment. But Johnson's clearly saying the right thing and that's what you want to hear from him.
If I had to guess, I'd say Johnson will play. Pitt may only get him on the field for three seasons if he pans out and heads to the NFL early. To me, if he's ready, you've got no choice but to play him. I don't particularly care if he starts, but it would be nice to get him some playing experience as a true freshman.