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Meet Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson

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On Wednesday, the Davey O’Brien Foundation had the chance to talk with Matt Johnson of Bowling Green, who was named the Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week on Sept. 15. Find out more about Johnson, who is back at the helm of the Falcons’ attack after suffering a season-ending hip injury in the 2014 season opener. Through two weeks, the senior leads the nation in passing yards (915) and is tied for second in passing touchdowns (8). Here he talks about winning the award, dealing with his injury, the quarterbacks whom he has idolized over the years, and what makes Bowling Green a special place.

 

Vote for Matt Johnson for Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week here:

 

Q: What does winning the Davey O’Brien Quarterback of the Week award mean to you?

A: “It’s unbelievable and definitely means a lot. I know what it means, especially at the end of the year when it’s given out to the best quarterback in the country. It’s a huge honor and one that I’m very thankful for. I wouldn’t have ever guessed that in the middle of Week 2 that I’d be getting the recognition that I am. It’s been a crazy two games. That’s for sure.”

 

Q: Can you talk about coming back from your hip injury from a year ago?

A: “That was the first time I’ve ever had an injury longer than a week. In high school I got a concussion and was out for a week. That was it. That was the longest I’d ever been hurt. It was very hard to deal with last year–a lot of ups and downs. But my family, friends, teammates, coaches, strength coaches and athletic trainers were with me every step of the way. Everyone was so supportive of me through the good days and the bad days. They understood that I’d never gone through anything like this before. It was a very long process, but I learned a lot.”

 

Q: What did you learn from your experience?

A: “I tell people it was a unique experience. I got to be a coach for the first time, helping the younger quarterbacks and helping the receivers with what I was seeing on the field. It was challenging, but it was unique, especially because last year was our first in a new offense. I was able to see things through a coach’s eyes and understand why things were being called and understand different situations. I was able to really get inside the heads of our coaching staff. Because I wasn’t able to do anything physically, I wanted to maximize my time mentally. So now that it’s my second year in this new offense, I really feel like I see the field differently.”

 

Q: What is it like playing in such a potent offense?

A: “It’s unbelievable. You get to chuck the ball around to guys who are incredible in space. You’ve got guys who can go get the ball. They make my job very easy. But it all starts with the guys up front. I think they are the second most experienced group in all of FBS behind UCLA. The experience that they have and the playing time that they have together as a group, that’s what really makes this offense easy. I can sit back there and be comfortable and be able to make my reads and deliver the ball. It gets more and more fun each week.”

 

Q: Who have been your favorite quarterbacks to watch?

A: “When I was growing up, my favorite quarterback was Brett Favre. I just loved how he played the game like a little kid. He was always having fun no matter what was going on around him. I’d always listen to his sound clips when they had him mic’d up. If I had to pick a favorite quarterback right now, I’d say Russell Wilson. I really enjoy watching him, especially because of the height similarities and the way he carries himself on and off the field. I really admire that. Obviously you have to love Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady just the way that they compete and the way that they are winners.”

 

Q: At 6 feet tall, were you told you were too small to play quarterback?

A: “I had a lot of that throughout the recruiting process, but the thing that I can take away from that now and that I overlooked then when I was hurting that schools were telling me that I was too small, was that there were schools that didn’t think I was too small. And now, I really can fully appreciate the schools that offered me because they didn’t think I was too short. They wanted me to be a part of their program. And I couldn’t be any happier that I chose Bowling Green.”

 

Q: What is it that makes Bowling Green special to you?

A: “It’s the family atmosphere. From your actual family getting to know other families to your actual family on the team, your brothers, your coaches, the support staff. You need so many people throughout this journey that you are on. It’s the fact that everyone who comes here has the same mindset of family and protecting your brothers. It’s just a culture that we have instilled here. That’s what makes this place very special.”

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