Former DeSales star earning respect from U of L teammates

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - U of L sophomore punter Ryan Johnson earned some toughness points and plenty of respect from his teammates Saturday.

Johnson, a graduate of DeSales High School, stood tall, and booted a punt late in the Cards 28-21 win at Florida International, all while a Panther defender was bearing down on him. The hit resulted in a roughing the kicker penalty and allowed the Cards to retain possession.

Cards head coach Charlie Strong made special mention of the play at a Sunday team meeting.

"They saw it because I showed it to them, and I made reference to that hit, and I said look at Ryan just standing there and taking that hit," Strong said. "We ended up getting the ball and ending that game. The guy came clean, some guys may panic in that situation because he's right in his line of vision. He's coming right to him and he hung in there and just booted it out. I was like, wow!"

Cards safety Hakeem Smith was impressed. "He's get a lot of respect because some punters would take that hit and be out for the game, or the next game," Smith said. "He got a hit on him and was able to bounce back off of that."

Johnson and the #19 Cards (4-0) visit Southern Miss on Saturday night at 8 p.m. The game is being televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.