TWO BITS: Johnson coaching, Lewis’s journey

By Adam Silverstein
April 7, 2011

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive back Todd Johnson was hired Wednesday as the new head football coach of Riverview High School in Sarasota, FL. In the works for a year, Johnson’s hiring came after 30-year coaching veteran John Sprague announced his retirement in March. Johnson, who played seven years in the NFL for Chicago and St. Louis, was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference player who helped Florida win the 2000 SEC Championship. He attended and played for Riverview as a youngster and hopes to continue taking the football program to new heights.

2 » It took Gators tight ends coach Derek Lewis a long time to get from his hometown of New Orleans, LA to Gainesville, FL. He played college football for Texas, spent two seasons in the NFL, went back home to drive a city bus, returned to his alma mater as an intern, took a coaching job with Minnesota and eventually caught head coach Will Muschamp’s eye. University of Florida senior writer Scott Carter caught up with Lewis for a feature on the coach’s journey.

Q: What makes an ideal tight end in your view?
A: A guy who is willing to give up tags. I get overly concerned with guys who only want to be a pass-catching tight end or only want to be a run-blocking tight end. We gave you a title from the beginning: tight end. It’s encompassing. You’ve got to combine the beauty and grace of a wideout with the meanness and nastiness and toughness of an offensive lineman. You try to become Beauty and the Beast. So the first thing I would say is the mentality. You have to be willing to put everything out there. You’ve got to be willing to do all those things at a high level and not box yourself in.

2 Comments

  1. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Congrats to Todd & Shannon. Glad to have Gators out there coaching up the high school talent.

  2. SaraGator says:

    Riverview needed a change. Though Sprague had helped me and my daughter, I’ve heard nothing but complaints from other parents. It’s nice to see a Gator step in; I will have to stop by some time and say “hello”.

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