‘NJ’ aims to bring new energy to Wildcats football


Dani Fraher, Staff Writer

Eagan High School’s new head football coach, Nick Johnson, widely known as NJ, kicked off the 2019 football season with astounding popularity. Coach Johnson enters his 18th year of coaching after spending 15 years as Rick Sutton’s “number two” with the Wildcats and two years as an assistant coach at Lakeville North. He’s excited to be back and has big hopes for this year’s homecoming game vs. Burnsville.

“I think we have an awesome group of kids on the team,” Johnson said. “I’m the second head coach they’ve had in a couple of years, so it was hard for them to adjust.” 

Despite the adjustment, though, the players think highly of the coach. 

“I could tell right away that NJ was going to bring a good and new type of energy to the team,” said junior Colby Sorenson. “He cares about each of us individually and has a positive attitude.”

Sorenson also says that Johnson focuses more on the positive details versus the negative  — “What we did good, rather than what we did wrong.” NJ likes to get to know his players, as he says, “I like to make sure I know who they are.” He invests most of his time in getting familiar with the players in the Wildcats football program.

Football practices are held for two hours after school Monday through Thursday every week with games on Fridays. Mondays serve as a walkthrough, with less hitting, a lot of lifting, and watching film of other teams. Practices on Tuesdays and Wednesdays involve full pads. Thursdays serve as a second walkthrough with a game right around the corner. 

“We try to change the practices up every day, but we hit a lot of the same stuff that we’re trying to accomplish,” Johnson said.

Practices this week have been especially focused with the homecoming game on the schedule for Friday. Burnsville and Eagan both bring 0-5 records into the matchup.

“Our guys have done a good job of putting the time in, so I’d like to see them get rewarded and get a chance to win their homecoming game,” Johnson said.