Brian Johnson isn't sure exactly what kind of offense he wants to run as Utah's coordinator, but he is confident he can run it. It will be a more explosive offense than the Utes had in 2011 when the Utes had to rely on a running game after starting quarterback Jordan Wynn suffered a season-ending shoulder injury too, he says.
Johnson met members of the media for the first time as Utah's coordinator Thursday afternoon.
While the 24-year-old joked he is still too young to rent a car from many companies, he said he is ready to guide the Utes' offense and will use spring ball to devise his schemes.
"We have a ton of talent in the program and we've got some guys who can play a lot of ball for us so it's my job to put those guys in places where they can be successful."
Johnson's lack of offensive background as a coach is the opposite of what the Utes had with the 65-year-old Norm Chow, but coach Kyle Whittingham didn't seem to be uneasy about the lack of experience.
"He has always been ahead of the curve," he said of Johnson.
Whittingham insisted the offense will be Johnson's to run.
"It's Brian's vision," he said.
Still, you can bet Whittingham will have his say in the offense, which likely will go back to more of a spread.
Incoming quarterbacks Chase Hansen and Travis Wilson are capable of running such a scheme, which means spring ball could offer an interesting quarterback battle since returner Jordan Wynn is healthy too.
Johnson expressed the need for a mobile quarterback while Aaron Roderick said the Utes need to be more aggressive downfield in the passing game.
To his credit, Roderick didn't hide the fact that he was disappointed he didn't get the job and acknowledged he wants to be an offensive coordinator some day.
He said he decided to stay with the Utes because Utah is home and he feels the program is moving in the right direction, but still, you'd have to think his time with the Utes won't be long given the recent events.
In the meantime, he'll concentrate on helping Johnson create an offense in which the Utes can be successful.
"We will work together fine," he said. "I'm not worried about working with him."
Whittingham said he wasn't sure how all the staff changes will affect the various recruiting areas the coaches have but will decide that soon.
The one position he is certain of is placing cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah, a starting safety from 1990-93 who was a certified NFL agent from 1996-2002, in the Los Angeles area.
"He has a lot of contacts there and will do very well there," Whittingham said.
- Lya Wodraska
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