Utah football: Brian Johnson is leaving the Utes

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  • pleblian salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 10, 2014 4:25 p.m.

    Query whether UofU has had more conference wins or O-coordinators since joining the PAC?

    That said, for the U it hasn't been the O-coordinator so much as the poor choice in Wynn for two years and bad luck at qb thereafter that have kept the U below PAC12 mediocrity so far.

    BYU has yet to build a top 70 offensive line for four straight years. Whilst wasting two oftheir best defensive squads since 1997.

    I'd rather be in Utah's position.

    As an Aggie fan, I'm happy to be neither.

  • Alterego Harrisville, UT
    Feb. 10, 2014 3:03 p.m.

    All Utah had to offer was $$$. I guess money can't buy everything....

  • Alterego Harrisville, UT
    Feb. 10, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    Utah will replace Johnson with an Oregon coach. Utah is the best team in the pac. They will remain the best for the foreseeable future and every other coach in the pAC wants to be part of Utah's dynasty.

  • lefty200 kaysville, UT
    Feb. 9, 2014 1:47 p.m.

    This is what should have happened when coach Whittingham started hiring all graduate assistant to run his program. Coaches with no experience can't be mature enough to coach in the PAC 12. I do wish Johnson well, however, it just wasn't right for a grad assistant to be put in the position he was assigned to. He was destined to fail. Hopefully he and Dan Mullen can produce on a smaller scale.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Feb. 9, 2014 1:37 p.m.


    First of all chrissy, roderick did not turn BYU down twice. In fact the one and only time they offered him a job he actually accepted it and then renigged on it. The first time he took a job and then went back on his word was at washington.

    As for your claim about coach Holliday, you do realize he just helped sign his godson to an LOI to play at BYU don't you? Why would he do that and then leave a couple of days later? If that was his plan why wouldn't he steer him to utah who was also in need of WR's? If you are going to try to be provocative you should at least do a little bit of homework and come up with something semi believable. lol

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 9, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    Nobody should be too surprised at the way this happened. This is KW's mo since taking over as head coach. I don't think he's fired anybody. Be demotes them or moves them around to other positions and let's them realize it's time to move on themselves. This may be one reason the offense is struggling so much. The head coach needs to be more decisive when things aren't going well. He had an opportunity to keep Dave Schramm back when Roderick left for Washington, but instead brought Roderick back as co-OC with Schramm and after one season Schramm left. Now we see Schramm excelling at Fresno State and you have to wonder what could have been had KW made the decision and kept him as the only OC.

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 9, 2014 8:14 a.m.

    I was concerned about hiring BJ as the OC when KW did it and I voiced that concern here on the Dnews boards. As I look back at his coaching record, in spite of the injuries to the QB's, the Utes haven't had good QB play his entire tenure. There supposedly has been the talent level, but none of them have really performed consistently up to expectations. Sometimes being smart and knowing the X's and O's isn't all it takes to be a good coach. Brian was a great player, but maybe he's lacking in some of the essential coaching skills like motivating others or helping a QB rebuild his confidence after he throws a few interceptions. I wish BJ all the best, but I think some new energy is needed at the QB coaching position and I hope the new OC will bring somebody in to do that.

  • Crow Sandy , UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 8:43 p.m.

    Not the beginning but the end Brian was way over his head as an OC and got demoted. Now he can take his so called skills to Miss St. Utah needed new blood on the coaching staff and I am glad that Whit has realized that. Now if we can get rid of Arod so that our WR corp can develop and get separation from the DBs in the PAC12 it will complete a new offensive staff

    Now Dave bring in a great hire for QB coach.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 8:30 p.m.

    @stringer bell

    I wasn't aware that 2-7 records put a team at the top of the pac12.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 4:54 p.m.

    Oh and by the way 54iq, the doom and gloom for utah's program is occuring regardless of what johnson does. They're a losing program at the bottom of their conference no matter if johnson stays or goes. It is completely irrelevant what he does. They're bad.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 4:52 p.m.


    When did I predict "doom and gloom" because johnson is leaving? To the contrary he was a bad hire to begin with. None of utah's qb's ever improved with him as their coach. utah's offense was abysmal with him as o.c. Frankly the guy hasn't proven to be capable of doing anything to improve a team as a coach. utah can't help but get a better coach than johnson showed himself to be even if they hire chis b, at minimum it couldn't be any worse could it? When your offense as ranked below 100 every year this guy had his hands on it I'm not sure why anyone would be thinking it is "doom and gloom" that he is leaving? Please explain that one to me?

    Now for johnson's standpoint this is not just an understandable move it is the smartest thing he has ever done. get out before the entire thing comes crashing down this December. get out while he still has a shred of credibility. Just get as far away from that sinking ship as he can. Smartest move he ever made.

  • Tomahawk Red North Salt Lake, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 3:59 p.m.

    The SEC is better than the Pac 12.

    Is that too hard for TDS fans to understand?

    Regardless, I'm glad he is going. He wasn't up to the job here, and he wasn't appreciated here for what he DID do well.

    Plus, Whittingham (hopefully) will be long gone by this time next year and that could have left him without a job. Watch for the Wyoming QB coach to be his replacement.

    I'd bet we haven't heard the last of Brian Johnson. The kid has a solid football IQ and sufficient ambition to go far in coaching. He just needs a competent coach to allow him to develop and improve. Mullen may be the one.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Johnson back as a successful OC in a few years time somewhere else... and making Utah look really bad in the process.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 3:54 p.m.


    No, it's a given that no one is calling anyone from BYU's staff. At least Wyoming coaches are in demand, even by BYU alum.

    You're wrong. Its looking like Guy Holliday(byu coach) is coming over to Utah. My sources are telling me its looking close to being a done deal


    If Utah is a sinking ship what does that say about a program that loses a coach to said "sinking ship"

    Is byu already sunk if coaches are continually picking Utah offers over byu(Whittingham, Roderick twice, Guy Holliday)?

    Go UTES

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Feb. 8, 2014 2:57 p.m.

    Thank you, Coach, for your contributions to Utah football. Good luck in the future!

  • truthsandwich RANDOLPH, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 2:55 p.m.

    Thanks to BJ for the best season of football in the history of our state, and playing a big part in Utah's move up to the PAC 12.

    Congrats on the new job and best of luck in what will likely be a bright future in coaching.

  • Crow Sandy , UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 2:47 p.m.

    Nothing has began just Brian knowing that he will not be moved to OC at Utah at this time is all it means.

    I am glad that Brian is moving on the Utes need new blood on the coaching staff and Brian can learn from Dan Mullen and be in the SEC. It should advance is career.

    At least Whit is known for firing his coaches then bringing them back a year later to the same position now that is talking musical chairs.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 1:55 p.m.

    Good luck Brian.

    And welcome ex byu coach guy Holliday!

    Tell us byu fans does it hurt to be told no thanks by alum whittingham an alum Roderick(twice)?

    Your alum prefer Utah to their own school!

    And now we take guy Holliday.

    Yes, I love our bcs membership!

  • Uncle Rico Provo, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 1:49 p.m.

    At least Utah hires desirable coaches.

    BYU fans can laugh all they want, but Whit hires guys that have had good experience or develop into good coaches. Whit will develop someone else now.

    Jay Hill, now head coach at Weber State
    Norm Chown, now head coach at Hawaii
    Gary Andersen, now head coach at Wisconsin
    (plus many others that have gained good experience at Utah and moved up at a different school).

    Now let's see about Bronco, his assistants:
    Jaime Hill, he was fired no one else wanted him.
    Brandon Doman, same thing
    Robert Anae, left BYU, Doman was worse BYU couldn't find anyone better, so they brought him back.

    Bronco can rarely develop NFL players and he cannot develop assistants to further their careers.

  • Stringer Bell Henderson, NV
    Feb. 8, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    Re: Downunder

    Even with all of the unplanned QB injuries at the U for the past several years, when has Utah ever been in the basement of the PAC 12? One of the uninformed that Bronco referenced?

  • Stringer Bell Henderson, NV
    Feb. 8, 2014 1:28 p.m.

    Re: Duckhunter "And so it begins"

    No- and so it ends. Great kid but was put in a position where he was in over his head. Wish him well.

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    Feb. 8, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    Good move.

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Feb. 8, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    West Point , UT

    "it'll be interesting to see who he brings in to replace Brian"

    I thought that was a given...what's the QB coach's name at Wyoming? I'm sure we'll be getting that announcement soon.


    No, it's a given that no one is calling anyone from BYU's staff. At least Wyoming coaches are in demand, even by BYU alum.

  • nampaaggie9 nampa, ID
    Feb. 8, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    Congrats Brian, what a huge upgrade, must be a great feeling going to a prestigious conference, good luck!

  • Tilka PORTLAND, OR
    Feb. 8, 2014 11:17 a.m.

    If you compress what has happened in the last two years the conclusion is this is simply poor management. Repeatedly demoting someone is what poor managers do when they don't have the leadership, management, human relations and strength to just simply say to someone they don't think the person is getting the job done and firing them. The approach by Whittingham and Chris Hill is demeaning and cowardly.

  • Cougar Blue 1 Henderson , NV
    Feb. 8, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    Jo co Ute.... Lots its appeal. See below
    4. the power or ability to attract, interest, amuse, or stimulate the mind or emotions.
    It is obvious Johnson has no interest being demoted to a position coach (co-offensive coordinator to make it sound better). At this point Ericson, Christenson, and Johnson all hold the title of Co- offensive coordinator. Hence the joke of Co-co-co offensive coordinator. Obviously with different roles but the same title nonetheless.

  • goinfishn Orem, Utah
    Feb. 8, 2014 9:56 a.m.

    A job opening for Max Hall.

  • 54-10 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    It is laughable how the same people that hammered Johnson for years now claim, due to his departure, doom and gloom for the program that he leaves (see Duckhunter).

  • ekute Layton, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    "I just don't understand...why in the world would he want to leave the elite Pac-12 conference?"

    You'd think that somebody from Lincoln would have an understanding of football on the national level. Shaden, He's going to the SEC!

    Detractors have you're fun but you know that if you're team ever beat Utah it would be the greatest thing that's happened in happy valley for decades, whereas owning byu is insignificant to the Program up on the Hill.

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Feb. 8, 2014 9:02 a.m.


    That was funny, but in all actuality, you may be correct.

    Their QB coach is Jason Gesser, former Wassu All American, former OC at U of I, and current coach of Brett Smith, who will be leaving Wyoming early for the draft and projects as a 2nd to 4th round pick.

    With the inroads the Utes are making in the South, I wouldn't be surprised with to see Kyle bring in someone with connections down there.

  • Joe Schmoe Orem, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 8:58 a.m.


    I second the vote to get Chris B hired as the new co-co-co offensive coordinator. He would do a great job and fit in perfectly with the Pac 12 staff. I never thought I would see a coach leave the prestige of the pac 12 for a job with Miss. St. Doesn't Brian know what he is leaving?

    Best of luck to him. Onward and upward!

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Feb. 8, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    Love this guy and I'll always be thankful for what he's done for the Utes. Watching Brian play pitch and catch and destroy the mighty crimson tide in the Sugar Bowl will probably be the sports memory of my life.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    Good luck to Brian, he was a great QB at the U and though he has always been older than his years, he was put into a tough position in trying to be a PAC-12 Offensive Coordinator as a 25 year old. I think MSU is getting a very good coach in BJ, with valuable experience working with Norm Chow and Dennis Erickson, along with Aaron Roderick, Whittingham, Dave Schramm, etc.

    One thing that is apparent from Utah's experience in the PAC-12 is that this league is full of excellent football coaches who know the game inside & out. (This applied to basketball as well. There are no weak sisters in the PAC, really)

    BYU's experience in promoting Brandon Doman to OC prematurely is much like the situation at Utah with BJ as the youngest OC in the nation. There's every reason to think both these guys could be successful in different situations.

  • AZCoug Mesa, AZ
    Feb. 8, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    I have not followed any of the coaches from the Wyoming pipeline, and there have surely been excellent coaches there in the past that have gone on to do great things at other schools. I can't help the feeling that Chris B. could be confused and affrighted at the concept that coaches from a lesser conference than "his" own might be called upon to right the ship before it turns turtle.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Feb. 8, 2014 3:24 a.m.

    Sorry to see him leave. His departure will help the Utes

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    Feb. 8, 2014 1:37 a.m.

    BJ's history as a coach at the U says so much about KW's decision making. KW comes off as calm, cool, and collected but his staff-related decisions make him seem impetuous, short sighted, and lacking judgment. Where is the AD in this mess?

    Thanks for the Sugar Bowl memories, BJ - best game in the history of Utah football! Watching that game on TV was way more exciting than watching the Fiesta Bowl game in person.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    Feb. 8, 2014 1:09 a.m.

    Hope he makes it back to Utah afar his SEC experience.

  • Down under Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 12:38 a.m.

    Smart move to get out while he can. After another season in the basement of the PAC the rest of the coaching staff will also be looking for work next year.

    Feb. 8, 2014 12:27 a.m.

    BJ is a class act, Miss St is lucky to have him. Despite his shortcomings as a coordinator at Utah, he's a great football mind an even better man of high character. Mississippi State just became the only SEC team I'll root for this year. Good luck, BJ!

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Feb. 7, 2014 11:33 p.m.

    I don't really know how good of a coach Johnson is, but he was a great QB and a class act. There aren't too many guys / coaches that would have played in Whit's music chair game with as much class and grace as Brian did. I don't think he got to opportunity to prove what he could do at Utah. No OC can implement their schemes and show their impact in one year, but apparently that's all the time an OC gets at Utah. I wonder who the OC will be next year? Good luck at MSU.

  • Shaden Lincoln, NE
    Feb. 7, 2014 11:13 p.m.

    I just don't understand...why in the world would he want to leave the elite Pac-12 conference?

  • MyPerspective Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 11:11 p.m.

    I can't disagree. The bigger question is whether Whitt will promote someone already on staff or will Christianson bring in the new qb coach? That's where your comment is in play. If Whitt allows the new OC to bring the qb coach, I will at least concede that Whitt is making progress with organizational decisions. Of course, that doesn't mean the program will be any better off.

  • Sports Are Great Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 11:10 p.m.

    And this just weeks after Utah "fans" told us both Erickson and Brian Johnson supported the move to bring the Wyoming guy in?

  • 007 Layton, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 11:06 p.m.

    Oh, I'm sure Aaron Roderick still has plenty of time to talk him out of it.

  • play by the rules SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 11:05 p.m.

    The new QBs coach will be the new OC next year! I hear the U is great at recruiting. Recruiting offensive coordinators. They land a great one every year!

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 11:03 p.m.

    And so it begins....

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:57 p.m.

    "it'll be interesting to see who he brings in to replace Brian"

    I thought that was a given...what's the QB coach's name at Wyoming? I'm sure we'll be getting that announcement soon.

  • pocyUte Pocatello, ID
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:46 p.m.

    Good for Brian.

    I hope he does well there. He has always been a great representative for Utah.

    Whit has done a good job with hires this off season, it'll be interesting to see who he brings in to replace Brian. My guess is it will be someone with recruiting connections to the South.

    Go Utes.

  • MyPerspective Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:24 p.m.

    Interesting development. I wonder what the chances are the Donovan Isom follows BJ to MSU. Surely, BJ knew he was going to make this move before the NLI was over.

    Good luck, Brian and thank you for the quarterback legacy you left at Utah!

  • JoCo Ute Grants Pass, OR
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:25 p.m.

    Re Cougar Blue. . . lots what?

  • Cougar Blue 1 Henderson , NV
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:21 p.m.

    I guess being the co-co-co offensive coordinator lots it's appeal.

  • Sports Nutz Smithfield, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:17 p.m.

    I think there is now an opening for Chris B and the wealth of football knowledge he would bring to the utes. Good luck to Brian in Mississippi.

  • JoCo Ute Grants Pass, OR
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:07 p.m.

    Good Luck Brian. Johnson was a casualty of accepting too much responsibility too soon. He didn't have the experience needed to be the OC at Utah. He'll be a great recruiter for Mullin at Southern Miss. For now a QB coach is where he should be. He'll grow and learn and someday become a great OC and maybe even a head coach.

  • Tom in MS Madison, MS
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:05 p.m.

    If this is indeed true, then Brian has a very talented qb to work with. Because Dan Mullen is infinitely better than his predecessors, he can stay as long as he wants in Starkville. I wouldn't blame Brian for going there. SEC football is a way of life here in the South, and it will probably be an eye opener to Brian. And Mullen probably wants to hit LA and TX harder recruiting. If it is true then, welcome to Mississippi Brian, it's great to have y'all here! Instead of "Ki!Yi!" it will be "And then we'll yell, yell, yell, yell!"

  • Max-was-right springville, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:03 p.m.

    Rats are jumping off the ship. He is just getting a years head start on the rest of the coaching staff.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 9:46 p.m.

    If this is true, then best of luck to Brian at MSU. He has been a great ambassador for the U and a fine example as both a player and a coach.

    Sadly, I suspect that part of the thought process in evaluating whether to take what appears to be a lateral position was the fact that Coach Mullin is likely to be at MSU longer than Coach Whit will be at the U. Hopefully, they will both have long tenures.