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GREAT SALT TAKES: Brian Johnson to fly like an Eagle

Earlier this week, it was reported and announced that former Utah quarterback and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson would be moving on from his former position as offensive coordinator at the University of Florida. His next stop: the pros, where he will take the reigns as the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.

This Is The Place Sports founder Dirk Facer and his longtime colleague Mike Sorensen, guys who spent a lot time covering the Utes, give their thoughts on Johnson’s move to the NFL.

MIKE SORENSEN
former Deseret News sports writer and columnist

I remember Brian Johnson as just a college kid from his days as a Utah quarterback. He was just 21-years-old when he led the Utes to one of the biggest wins in Utah football history, the 31-17 Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama.

You could always tell Johnson was smart, not only from his interviews, but the way he played on the field. He was a man ahead of his time.

He came to Utah at the age of 17 and, after backing up Alex Smith, was a starter at quarterback the following season. After he completed his career as a three-year starter with that huge win over the Crimson Tide, he worked on the Utes’ staff for a couple of years before becoming the youngest offensive coordinator in the country at age 25 for Kyle Whittingham. 

Since then, Johnson has quickly moved up the coaching ladder, spending three years as the quarterbacks coach at Mississippi State, a year as the offensive coordinator at University of Houston and most recently as the offensive coordinator at the University of Florida.  

And now at the age of 33 he is the new quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Some have wondered if he might be high on the list to become the next head coach at the University of Utah. But I think that ship has sailed. 

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Johnson becomes an offensive coordinator in the next couple of years and an NFL head coach before he turns 40. 

DIRK FACER
former Deseret News sports writer

Brian Johnson is a man in demand. After interviewing for head coaching jobs at South Carolina and Boise State, he’s opted to leave his position as Florida’s offensive coordinator for an opportunity in the NFL. The new quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles is doing quite well as a 33-year-old. The same was true when he arrived at the University of Utah as a teenager. Following a season as the backup to Alex Smith, Johnson racked up a lot of success — leaving the program with a school-record 26 wins as the starter and capping things off with Most Outstanding Player honors in Utah’s upset of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

Johnson later became an assistant coach for the Utes and was named the offensive coordinator at the ripe old age of 25. Moves to Mississippi State, Houston and Florida followed.

Now it’s on to the NFL. 

Look for Johnson to find a way to get things done. Simply put, that’s what he does and he does it well.

This Is The Place Sports