UTAH UTES

Utah Quarterback Nate Johnson Discusses Evolving Under Pressure

Oct 12, 2023, 7:34 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah football finds themselves with their back against the wall after a tough loss to Oregon State and a laundry list of injuries heading into the Ute Proud game against Cal.

As such, many young faces and backups have been thrust into duty for the Utes, but none more so than Utah quarterback Nate Johnson who discussed with Unrivaled in the Player’s Club evolving in such a high-pressure situation.

Johnson once again was candid about where he has improved his game, where he still needs to improve his game, and who has been helping to keep his confidence up while navigating being the unexpected starter week in and week out.

 

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Utah, Nate Johnson Handling Unexpected Pressure

It’s been the theme of the week for the Utes, discussing how they have been handling all the unexpected pressure that has come from a mountain of injuries.

Wide receiver Devaughn Vele, and defensive stars Cole Bishop and Karene Reid have all weighed in on the topic, while Johnson also gave his own perspective of where things stand with the team.

“We’re handling it well,” Johnson said. “The ‘next man up’ mentality has been put in since week one and our team is handling it very well. Again, we’ve got to get these young players going because the amount of injuries we have is unbelievable. We have a 4-1 record right now and we hope to make it 5-1 after Saturday. The team is handling it really well and if that’s what it’s got to be the rest of the season, so be it. Nobody cares that we are injured or hurt. Teams want it like that. We’ve just got to have that ‘next man up’ mentality and we’ve got to finish the season strong.”

 

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Johnson On His Development As A QB

Johnson says he’s seen a lot of growth and progress in his game as a quarterback, not only from having a year under his belt, but even in just the past few weeks getting the nod as the starter.

“I think understanding defenses and the playbook,” Johnson said. “There were some plays where I was- where I came in probably beginning of fall camp when we were installing plays and some of those plays took me a minute to figure out. The defense as well- trying to figure out how different teams disguise and play different coverages. How they bring blitzes, how they bring pressures- man pressures. Really, just getting in the film room and staying in the film room every single day learning something new. It’s helped me a lot this year and I’m better at understanding our playbook and better at understanding other teams’ defensive schemes.”

 

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Nate Johnson’s Support System Is With The Utes

Johnson says he has a very good support system within the team of guys who keep him motivated even when things are not going well. He also noted one of the things he is still working on as a quarterback is letting a bad play go, but credits his teammates for continuing to have his back while he figures it out.

“They keep me motivated because this is the first time I’ve been in a situation like this,” Johnson said. “The o-linemen, the running backs, tight ends. Really anybody- even Cam- they always help keep my head in the game. That’s also probably the biggest thing I need to work on- if a play goes bad, let it go. That play, if you think about it during drives, it can mess up the drive. Really, just having the whole team behind me when things are going bad- it’s a good feeling knowing that you know things are going bad, but the guys are still behind you every step of the way.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Quarterback Nate Johnson Discusses Evolving Under Pressure