As we all know by now, Brian Johnson has left Utah for the QB coaching job at Miss St. In Starkville, he’ll be reunited with Dan Mullen and Billy Gonzales, part of the Urban Meyer brain trust that led Utah to an undefeated season in 2004. This comes on the heels of Brian being replaced as OC by former Wyoming head coach and Missouri OC, Dave Christensen.
Now I can’t imagine that set very well with Brian, as there are arguments to be made from all sides on this. His offenses didn’t produce as hoped, although year two with Dennis Erickson on board when we were healthy, things looked good. From Brian’s point of view, how in the hell do you create offense when no one is healthy. From Kyle’s point of view, we need some offense. And the fans have never really been big fans of Brian. People complained about him right up until we went went undefeated. There was a brief honeymoon when he was made QB coach and then fans were pissed again when he was made OC.
Oddly many of those complaining about Brian, complained about Andy Ludwig and said Brian was the real OC, but I digress.
In short, this might be a good move for everyone involved. If Brian wants to be a serious coach in the college ranks, he needs to spread his wings, and the SEC, even in Starkville, is a heck of a place to do that.
It seems that the boosters are continuing their tradition of what Rick Majerus called, Duke expectations on a DePaul budget and are getting primed to run Mr. Whittingham out of town. So it seems Kyle will have to pull all the stops out sooner rather than later.
Which brings us to this hire. The names I’ve seriously heard are Jason Gesser, Greg Brandon and Bryce Erickson. Gesser was Christiansen’s QB coach at Wyoming. He played at Wazzu and went to St. Louis High in Hawaii and was almost a Ute.
Brandon was OC under Urban Meyer at Bowling Green, coached under Christensen at Wyoming in the OC/QB coach capacity and is currently at New Mexico St.
Bryce Erickson is Dennis’ son, coached with him at Arizona St. and is currently at Idaho. I was told he is a very good recruiter and can coach RB’s and QB’s. If Dennis wants to leave a job for his son, this might be a name to remember.
If one of those three isn’t the hire, I would be very concerned.
And as always we’ll keep you up to date.