Much like Johns, Johnson became an aficionado of the scheme almost by accident. Three years ago, Johnson was still at Connecticut and trying to find a long snapper. His only option was a fifth-string walk-on tight end.
He eventually opted for the shield punt thanks to the coverage advantages, then brought it with him to College Park.
“You see it so much now, you have to really try to learn how people are doing it to know how to defend it,” Johnson said.
And unlike a quarter-century ago, it doesn’t look like it will go away any time soon.
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Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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