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Shawn Johnson ready to fill Cody Kirk's big shoes at running back

Published On: Aug 07 2014 09:03:46 PM MDT

Montana State's 2014 fall camp has brought competitions at all of the big spot on the Bobcats' offense as they need a new quarterback, wide receiver, running back and center. While it may seem like a lot, the Bobcats are loving it.

"It doesn't make it harder, it makes it fun," said MSU offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey. "Watch these guys go at it. I believe competition makes us better and a quarterback competition I call it, not a controversy, quarterback competition, makes us better as an offense."

The easiest of the four position to fill on the offense will be at running back, where Shawn Johnson is slated to take over the starting role after splitting reps with Cody Kirk last season.

"I learned a lot from Cody," said Johnson. "He was a hard, hard worker and very, very focused. Everything he taught me, I took it in."

Johnson is a returning All-American and received almost every preseason accolade as a return specialist. In his junior season, Johnson returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and a punt for a touchdown. He may need some oxygen on the sideline this year however, as his starting running back role will not take away from his special teams reps.

"Shawn Johnson is going to be a very tired young man at the end of every game this fall," said MSU head coach Rob Ash. "He's gonna still do our returns, both kickoff and punt returns, and he'll also be a marquee player on offense and a go-to guy. An every down type of tailback."

"It's a lot of opportunity for me to get the ball," Johnson said. "I might be tired, but I'm gonna suck it up because we're trying to win that Big Sky and hopefully that national championship. It's my senior year, so I'm trying to do everything I can."