It seems like a year ago that MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning left to join Charlie Strong's Texas staff. Since that time we've seen Geoff Collins' targeted and then kept by MSU, National Signing Day and other events come sweeping by the ultimately took our focus off the vacant offensive coaching position on campus. Now that Collins is secured as is the new class of Bulldogs, MSU fans and Dan Mullen turned their attention back to the open offensive coaching position that needed filling, and today, they filled that position, naming former Utah Co-OC/QB Coach Brian Johnson as the Mississippi State quarterbacks coach.
Last week, coachingsearch.com reported that MSU is interviewing Utah co-OC/QBs coach Brian Johnson for the vacant coaching position. Following that, Footballscoop reported that Johnson planned to accept the offer that was extended to him at that interview. Today Mississippi State made the news official.
RELEASE: @HailStateFB Finalizes 2014 Coaching Staff, Brian Johnson Named Quarterbacks Coach. http://t.co/XFUWsJHadc #HailState— MSU Football (@HailStateFB) February 10, 2014
Bringing in a guy like Johnson should certainly excite MSU fans for several reasons. First up is the fact that he has direct experience with the Urban Meyer/Dan Mullen offense. Johnson was recruited to Utah and coached by Mullen in his freshman season before Meyer and Mullen departed to Florida. Even when the duo left, Brian ran the spread offense under former Meyer assistant and new Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. Although Johnson's stats show that he was not as much of a running option as MSU likes its QBs to be, that doesn't mean that he can't teach the style. Utah's QB last year ran for nearly 400 yards under Johnson's tutelage, so the run-pass threat expectation from a QB has been there in Brian's time.
In our post last month in which we attempted to identify possible candidates and scenarios for the vacant position, we somehow managed to identify Johnson as a possible hire. That was due to his being mentioned on a message board somewhere as a coach who should get a look, so wherever we saw that, thanks message board poster!
Mississippi State also announced WRs coach Billy Gonzales and OL coach John Hevesy as co-OCs for MSU. That title is more of a formality than anything as we already know that Dan calls the plays on offensive, but still it's a nice added title for the pair. Additionally, RBs coach Greg Knox has added the title of special teams coach.
Statistics at Utah for Brian Johnson's
2012 (only year as full offensive coordinator): Passing: 220-351, 2288 yards, 16 TDs, 9 INTS
Rushing: 446 carries, 1605 yards, 17 TDs (John White: 1041 yards, 8 TDs)
2010 (QB Coach): Jordan Wynn: 186 of 299, 2334 yards, 17 TDs, 10INTs, 139.9 Rating
2011( QB Coach): Jon Hayes: 120 of 214, 1459 yards, 12 TDs, 8 INTs, 124.4 Rating
2013 (QB Coach): Travis Wilson: 133 of 237, 1827 yards, 16 TDs, 16 INTs, 129.7 Rating; 81 carries, 386 yards, 5 TDs
Adam Schulz: 75 of 154, 1008 yards, 6 TDs, 5 INTs, 110.0 Rating; 25 carries, 78 yards, 1 TD
Jordan Wynn: 66 of 116, 727 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs, 123.2 Rating