Brian Johnson, one of the more celebrated players, and often the most ridiculed coach, has left the program to take over the quarterbacks position for Dan Mullen's Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Mullen, of course, was Utah's quarterbacks coach under Urban Meyer in 2003 and 2004, and though Johnson only saw limited action in 2004, surely that connection was a reason behind Mullen's offer.
Johnson leaves Utah after his role was devalued over the last three seasons. In 2012, he took over as offensive coordinator, a stint that resulted in the Utes' first losing season in a decade, and then became co-offensive coordinator with Dennis Erickson for the 2013 season. After another losing campaign, Kyle Whittingham demoted him further, returning him to his pre-2012 role as solely quarterbacks coach.
Johnson will most definitely be remembered more for his play on the field than the play calls in the press box.
But this move makes sense. Johnson's trajectory at Utah was clearly heading south, so, getting into a new gig just may revive his coaching chances. Plus, it remains to be seen if the Utes' coaching staff is on a sinking boat, and if, unfortunately, things don't get turned around in the next couple seasons, his being tied to it could ultimately end any hope of a prolonged coaching career in college football.
It is a smart move on Johnson's part because it was unlikely he would ever regain control of the offense at Utah - either because Christensen proved successful or the next coaching staff didn't retain him. It's also a move that could hurt Utah's recruiting effort, as Johnson was one of the better recruiters on the staff. Still, it's an opportunity for both parties, and hopefully Whittingham continues to address the needs of this team by bringing in someone capable of not only coaching - but also successfully recruiting.
We'll see who's next on Utah's coaching radar. But for now, best of luck to Johnson in the SEC - where he should remind Nick Saban over and over again that he is currently 1-0 against the Crimson Tide.