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Friday, September 29, 2023

Gators lose offensive coordinator to the NFL

After three years helping Dan Mullen run Florida’s offense, Brian Johnson is heading to Philadelphia

<p>Gators quarterback Kyle Trask prepares to throw the football in Florida's game versus Arkansas at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Nov. 14, 2020.</p>

Gators quarterback Kyle Trask prepares to throw the football in Florida's game versus Arkansas at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Nov. 14, 2020.

Brian Johnson, who has spent the past three years as Florida’s offensive coordinator, is headed to the NFL.

Johnson was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles as a quarterbacks coach, according to a report from Ian Rapoport Wednesday. 

The hire continues Johnson’s ascent up the coaching ranks over the last decade. . 

The 32-year-old began as a quarterbacks coach at his alma mater, the University of Utah. He was named the Utes’ offensive coordinator in 2012 after two seasons, two weeks shy of his 25th birthday.

After serving as Utah’s offensive coordinator in 2012 and co-coordinator in 2013, Johnson took his first job under Dan Mullen as Mississippi State’s quarterbacks coach in 2014, working there for the next three seasons. 

Alongside Mullen, he oversaw the progression of current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. In three seasons with the Bulldogs, Johnson had two different quarterbacks lead the SEC in offensive yards (Prescott in 2014 and Nick Fitzgerald in 2016). His first two years were the two highest passing totals in a single season in school history.

Johnson took his talents to Houston as the offensive coordinator in 2017. In his one season with the Cougars, Houston finished in the top 40 nationally in passing offense and total offense.

Johnson rejoined Mullen at Florida in 2018 as a quarterbacks coach after Mullen was named the head coach. He was then named offensive coordinator this past September, becoming the first black OC in school history. 

In his first season under Johnson, former Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks raised his completion percentage from 54.6% to 58.4%, bumped his yards per attempt from 6.3 to 7.6 and his touchdown to interception ratio from 9:8 to 24:6.

The biggest feather in Johnson’s cap is probably his hand in the development of quarterback Kyle Trask. A two-star recruit, Trask came in after Franks’ 2019 injury as a redshirt junior. While Trask hadn’t started a game since his freshman year of high school, he threw for 2,941 yards, 25 touchdowns and 7 interceptions at a 66.9% completion rate in 12 games. 

Trask then exceeded expectations again in 2020, averaging nearly 10 yards per attempt (9.8) and throwing for 4,283 yards and 43 touchdowns before finishing fourth in Heisman voting

Johnson has personal experience throwing the ball, too. A star signal-caller at Utah, he actually made a cover of PlayStation 3 game NCAA Football 10 and threw for 7,853 yards, ran for 848 more and scored 69 total touchdowns on his way to a 26-7 record as a starter. 

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As a senior in 2008, he led the Utes to a 13-0, making them the only undefeated team in the FBS.Utah ended the season second in the AP Poll, the highest finish in school history following a Mountain West conference title and a Sugar Bowl victory over No. 4 Alabama.

Philadelphia’s quarterback room currently contains 2017 MVP candidate Carson Wentz and 2019 Heisman runner-up Jalen Hurts.

Contact Ryan Haley at or follow him on Twitter @ryan_dhaley

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Ryan Haley

Ryan Haley, a UF journalism senior with a sports & media specialization from Jacksonville, Florida, is Summer 2022's Engagement Managing Editor. He grew up playing a bunch of different sports before settling on golf, following Rory McIlroy and all Philadelphia sports teams. He also loves all things fiction, reading, watching shows and movies and talking about whatever current story or character is in his head.

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