Former Utah Quarterback Brian Johnson On Enjoying ‘Where His Feet Are’

Apr 3, 2023, 1:20 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s been 15 years since Brian Johnson shocked the college football world, leading an undefeated Utah football team over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl.

Johnson hasn’t stopped making waves in football since, either.

Kyle Whittingham hired Johnson has the quarterbacks coach for the Utes in 2010 and quickly promoted him to offensive coordinator in 2012 at the age of 25. While things ultimately didn’t work out long term with the Utes, it is safe to say Johnson’s coaching career launched from there moving on to successful stops at Mississippi State, Florida, and now with the Philadelphia Eagles as their Offensive Coordinator at the age of 36.

No matter where Johnson has been though, he says he’s always been mindful of enjoying where his feet are at.

Brian Johnson From Sugar Bowls To Super Bowls

Johnson spent nearly 10 years of his 13-year coaching career in college before making the jump to the NFL back in 2021. For the talented coach and former quarterback, that decision really came down to a dream he’s had as a child that he wasn’t able to fulfill as a player but is seeing success as a coach- making an impact at the highest level of football.

“There is a challenge of being at the highest level of football,” Johnson said. “You grow up as a kid watching guys play on Sunday and dream about being in that league in some shape or form. For me, it was really, really exciting to get a chance to fulfill that dream.”

In Johnson’s short time as a coach in the pros he’s already made it to a Super Bowl, though the result wasn’t quite what the Eagles wanted. Johnson says all that does is make them want to work hard to get back and try again.

“It’s football’s biggest stage,” Johnson said. “The two weeks leading up to it we had a lot of attention around, obviously, around the game, around the matchup and so many different storylines. Anytime you work that hard and you see your hard work pay off with all of the great players we had- for it not to end the way you wanted it to is obviously disappointing, but I think it leaves a burning desire to get back.”

From a disappointing injury in 2007 to a magical undefeated season in 2008 to the ups and downs of finding his way as a football coach, Johnson says the most important thing he’s learned is to enjoy the current moment and situation you are in. Everything else, including “climbing the ladder” will take care of itself from there.

“What I’ve learned in this profession- I think this is my 13th year in coaching is to be where your feet are,” Johnson said. “You try to do the best job you can in the current role that you are in. The rest of that stuff takes care of itself. I really believe that. If you can put yourself in that moment and be the best you can be and worry about helping your players succeed to the best of their abilities- the other stuff comes with that.”

It’s Not A Football Process, It’s A Life Process

Johnson’s time at Utah was certainly prolific and impactful on the field, but he says what he learned from Urban Meyer, Kyle Whittingham, and Andy Ludwig has been invaluable in every facet of his life and something he’s tried to pass on at every stop he’s made.

“I think it set a great foundation- I’ve learned so much about the game not only from coach Whitt, but coach Lud,” Johnson said. “The stuff they would say 15 years ago, 16 years ago- you see the reasoning behind it and you see it come to life in my profession. Not only that, but you see it come to life in parenthood, you see it come to life in marriage. All of these life lessons they teach you through the game of football- it’s really amazing to see how applicable it is to other areas of your life. I really, really appreciate Kyle and Urban and those guys for bringing me here and letting me get to experience that firsthand and use that as a catalyst for my career. Some of those same lessons I learned here as a player and even as a coach here at the University of Utah are lessons I carry forward with me, lessons I try to pass along to players I coach along the way and has really stood the test of time.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports


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Former Utah Quarterback Brian Johnson On Enjoying ‘Where His Feet Are’