Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson is leaving the Utes, a source confirmed to the Deseret News.
On Friday, Johnson accepted a similar post at Mississippi State — reuniting him with head coach Dan Mullen, who was his position coach at Utah in 2004.
According to the Commercial Dispatch’s Mississippi State sports blog, an official announcement including details about Johnson’s job title is expected on Monday. The newspaper is reporting that Johnson first interviewed with the Bulldogs on Thursday.
Attempts to contact Johnson and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham on Friday were unsuccessful.
Johnson, who turns 27 on Feb. 16, has coached the Utes’ quarterbacks since 2010. He also served as offensive coordinator in 2012 and was the co-coordinator with Dennis Erickson last season.
In December, Wyoming coach Dave Christensen was named Utah’s offensive coordinator and Johnson was relegated to position coach only.
As a player, Johnson was a three-year starter for the Utes and finished as the winningest quarterback in program history with 26 victories. He capped his career with Most Outstanding Player honors in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Other accolades include being named the 2008 Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year and 2007 Poinsettia Bowl MVP. The four-time all-conference all-academic honoree, who led Utah to a school-record 13-0 mark in his final season, was a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and Manning awards as a senior.
Johnson was Alex Smith’s backup as a freshman, appearing in 10 games for Utah’s undefeated Fiesta Bowl championship team. He’s the third coach to depart from Utah’s staff since the end of last season. Jay Hill (special teams coordinator/tight ends) left to become the head coach at Weber State and Dan Finn (offensive line) was replaced by former Wyoming assistant Jim Harding.
The Utes are coming off back-to-back 5-7 seasons.
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