Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Mississippi State quarterbacks' coach Brian Johnson to return to home state program.

Fresh off of a 17-16 win over Miami of Ohio, Mississippi State is in the market for a new quarterbacks' coach. Coach Brian Johnson has accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of Houston joining Coach Major Applewhite's staff.

Brian Johnson, a native of Baytown, Texas, just completed his third season in Starkville where the Bulldogs turned in some of their most productive seasons offensively in school history. Johnson's arrival coupled with the emergence of program icon, Dak Prescott, took the Bulldogs to new heights even ascending to the program's first ever #1 national ranking. 

In Johnson's first season on the Bulldog staff, Mississippi State scored 480 points and averaged just over 513 yards per game on their way to an Orange Bowl appearance against Georgia Tech. 

For an encore, Johnson mentored Prescott into one of the most prolific players in the history of the Southeastern Conference, Prescott was named All-SEC and was eventually selected in the 4th round by the Dallas Cowboys where he has taken the league by storm earning an NFC East crown and the top overall seed in the NFC playoffs this season.

Despite Prescott's departure, the Bulldog offensive continued to break records this fall with redshirt sophomore Nick Fitzgerald at the helm. Fitzgerald completed the campaign with 1,375 yard rushing, which currently leads the Southeastern Conference. Fitzgerald recorded seven games this season where he surpassed the 100 yard mark in both rushing and passing. That seven game total is second in FBS. 

Johnson began his college career as a player under then Utah offensive coordinator Dan Mullen. Mullen hired Johnson to coach Bulldog quarterbacks after former offensive coordinator Les Koenning left the program.

In his final game on the active roster, Johnson won Sugar Bowl MVP Honors as Utah knocked off #4 Alabama to complete a school best 13-0 season.

Having a Mullen disciple managing the signal caller room and taking part in some of the play calling responsibilities allowed the offensive production to soar. Nearly ever passing record in Mississippi State history is now held by a Mullen coached quarterback. 

While Mullen is ultimately the offensive coordinator, Johnson took part in much of the game planning and saw a larger role in the game day play calling this season. The move from quarterback coach to Offensive Coordinator is a step up for Johnson who served four years as an assistant coach at Utah prior to the move to the SEC. In 2012, Johnson served as the Utes' offensive coordinator and was a co-coordinator in 2013. 

Which direction the Bulldogs will go in now remains to be seen. Rumors linking Johnson to the opening in Houston surfaced two weeks ago as Mullen and his staff were finalizing their signees for the mid-year signing period. 

Mississippi State completed their 2016 season yesterday with a come from behind win over Miami of Ohio in the St. Petersburg Bowl, 17-16. The Bulldogs (6-7) have played in a bowl game seven consecutive years with a 5-2 record in those contests.


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