Nico: Start fast, finish strong

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2011

It’s all about finishing strong this season, Alabama junior linebacker Nico Johnson said.

“We just want everybody to know that we’re going to start fast and finish strong,” Johnson, a former Andalusia High School stand out said. “We want to be that opponent teams don’t want to play in the fourth quarter.”

Johnson said all of the games this season, especially in the Southeastern Conference will be important.

Alabama doesn’t start SEC play until Sat., Sept. 24, when it will play host to the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Throughout the summer, working out and recovering from the tornadoes that ravaged Tuscaloosa and most of the northern part of the state, Alabama prepared for this season with the motto “Never again.”

When asked about the motto this year, Johnsons said it’s something the team took “pride” in this summer.

“We just set the standard that it’s not going to happen — never again,” he said. “We just threw a golden opportunity away (against Auburn when Alabama gave up a 24-point lead at half time to lose 28-27) and never again will we let that happen.”

Johnson started in the Will linebacker slot, a position he’s comfortable with because it’s similar to the Mike and Nickel slots he’s played in previously.

Practice leading up to the start of the season has been very comfortable, Johnson said, and added that each player knows his role on the team.

“This year, everybody knows what’s going on,” he said. “Everybody’s accountable to different spots and accepts their role on the team.”

Alabama will travel to play Penn State this Saturday in State College, Pa. Kick off is slated for 2:30 p.m. CST, and the game will be televised on ABC.