Brian Johnson is going to have his work cut out for him.
The former Utah quarterback is leaving his job as offensive coordinator at Florida for a chance to coach in the NFL where he will be the new quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.
It's definitely a bold move as Johnson will now be tasked with resurrecting the career of Eagles embattled quarterback Carson Wentz, once considered one of the young and bright stars of the league but now looked upon as a potential bust.
The Eagles went 4-11-1 last season, but it was marred following the play fo Wentz, who threw for 2,620 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also threw 15 interceptions and completed just 57.4% of his passes in 12 games.
Rookie Jalen Hurts then took over as starting quarterback, throwing for 1,061 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. But he proved deadly with his legs, averaging 60.2 rushing yards per game with three touchdowns in those five games.
Johnson is the right man for the job as he was the quarterbacks coach at Mississippi State, where he coached Dak Prescott and helped the fourth-round pick blossom into a true star in the league. He then coached Florida quarterback Kyle Trask the past two seasons, turning him into a bonafide NFL prospect and Heisman finalist after Trask threw for 4,283 yards and 43 touchdowns this past season.
Johnson has interviewed for college head coaching vacancies the past two years but was unsuccessful in getting the job. But experts believe he is very close to getting his first head coaching gig soon and could be a star in the making.
"I think at the end of the day when you get in this profession and you do a good job, you do a good job, people notice," Johnson said following the South Carolina interview in 2019. "And you get opportunities. It was good to get those reps, but I’m really looking forward to what we have going on here."
Back in 2003 when he was a high school senior, Dan Mullen recruited Johnson to the University of Utah as a quarterback. Eventually Johnson committed to the Utes and underwent an injury-filled career that ended five years later with his as the MVP of the Sugar Bowl in 2008 after leading the Utes to a perfect 13-0 record.
Johnson, 33, then reunited with Mullen at Mississippi State where the latter was the head coach, joining his staff as a quarterbacks coach from 2014-16.
After a brief hiatus away from one another, Johnson was once again with Mullen, this time at Florida. Mullen promoted Johnson from quarterbacks coach of the Gators to offensive coordinator for the team for the 2020 season.
"It’s really exciting," Johnson told the media after his promotion. "We have great players here and a great coaching staff. I’m excited to get that opportunity and help our team go out there and perform at a really high level.”
Johnson's promotion to Florida's offensive coordinator this past season signified a bigger change within the Gators program. He is the first African-American coach in program history ever to be named offensive coordinator — and now just the seventh black OC in the nation for an FBS-level program.
“I didn’t realize that. If that is the case, it’s obviously something to be very, very proud of," Johnson said. "Coaching the quarterbacks is obviously a big deal, especially here at a place like the University of Florida, where they have a very rich tradition of elite quarterback play and there’s three statues downstairs that prove that. It does make you proud, if that is the case."
Johnson began his coaching career in 2010 as the quarterbacks coach for Utah under Kyle Whittingham. It was short-lived as he was quickly promoted to offensive coordinator in 2012 at the young age of 24.
He then made a change and went with Mullen to Mississippi State for three years before leaving to take over as offensive coordinator at Houston. He then returned to Mullen, this time at Florida, to be quarterbacks coach in 2018 before taking over in his new role.
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