"He stepped into a pretty tough role and helped us fight back and finish the season really strong," Johnson said. "So I can't say enough about his physical and mental toughness that he had for us this past season."
Utah's quarterback situation may be secondary, however, to Johnson's new role in the eyes of fans this spring. The 2009 Sugar Bowl Most Outstanding Player isn't shying away from the challenges ahead.
"Obviously with any new position or promotion or new job, there's going to be some stuff that you obviously have to learn as you go. It's no different than any other job," Johnson said while acknowledging that being an offensive coordinator is a high-profile post.
"I'm excited for this opportunity. We have a great staff, like I've said. I think you can only be as good as the people around you and I can't say enough about the offensive staff that we have. Those guys are going to work extremely hard. They're all very bright and intelligent. I think it's a great dynamic that we have."
Despite his youth, Johnson said everybody has been very positive and extremely helpful — in and out of the program.
Johnson has kept in regular contact with former Utah quarterbacks coach Dan Mullen. He said he's learned a lot from the Mississippi State head coach.
"I've been able to pick his brain about a couple of things," Johnson noted.
EXTRA POINTS: Work on Utah's new $30 million football facility is under way. The old building on Guardsman Way is scheduled for demolition on March 27. ... Highly touted wide receiver Josh Gordon, a transfer from Baylor, left the Utah program in December and will not return. ... Running back Kelvin York, defensive end Hunter Dimick join Wilson and Hansen as recent signees participating in camp. ... Tight ends Kendrick Moeai (shoulder) and Dallin Rogers (knee), as well as defensive tackle LT Tuipulotu (knee), will be sidelined this spring while recovering from injuries. ... Notable position changes include Westlee Tonga (TE to DE), Keith McGill (S to CB), Thretton Palamo (RB to DE) and Joape Pela (OL to DL).
Utah spring football
All spring practices are scheduled for Rice-Eccles Stadium and are open to the public. However, in the event of inclement weather, practices sessions moved to the Spence Eccles Field House will be closed to the public because of space limitations.
Practice 1 — Tuesday, March 20, 3-5 p.m. (no pads)
Practice 2 — Thursday, March 22, 3-5 p.m. (no pads)
Practice 3 — Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m.-noon (tackle)
Practice 4 — Tuesday, March 27, 3-5 p.m. (tackle)
Practice 5 — Thursday, March 29, 3-5 p.m. (no tackle)
Practice 6 — Friday, March 30, 4-6 p.m. (tackle)
Practice 7 — Tuesday, April 3, 3-5 p.m. (tackle)
Practice 8 — Thursday, April 5, 3-5 p.m. (no tackle)
Practice 9 — Saturday, April 7, 10 a.m.-noon (scrimmage)
Practice 10 — Tuesday, April 10, 3-5 p.m. (tackle)
Practice 11 — Thursday, April 12, 3-5 p.m. (no tackle)
Practice 12 — Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m.-noon (scrimmage)
Practice 13 — Tuesday, April 17, 3-5 p.m. (tackle)
Practice 14 — Thursday, April 19, 3-5 p.m. (no pads)
Practice 15 — Saturday, April 21, 1 p.m. (Red-White Game)
NOTE: University parking regulations will be enforced.
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