In Brian Johnson’s last appearance in the SEC, he led Utah to a stunning upset of Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Now, the winningest quarterback in Utah history and current quarterbacks coach for the Utes, has been named quarterbacks coach at Mississippi State, head coach Dan Mullen announced on Monday.
Mullen also announced that Billy Gonzales and John Hevesy have been promoted to co-offensive coordinators. Greg Knox will serve as special teams coordinator in addition to running backs coach. Mullen will continue to call plays on game day.
“I’ve known Brian since I recruited him at Utah, and he is an excellent fit to our staff with his experience and knowledge of the quarterback position,” said Mullen. “Along with Brian’s addition, Billy and John will continue to develop our offense, which was the most explosive in school history last season. Greg is well respected and has over 20 years of coaching experience that will enhance our special teams production. We are thrilled about the staff we have in place. The 2014 season promises to be an exciting one for our team and fans.”
Johnson, who turns age 27 on Sunday, comes to Starkville after spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach at Utah, including one season as the offensive coordinator and one season as the co-offensive coordinator. He coached quarterbacks since joining the staff in 2010. A rising star in the coaching profession, Johnson became the youngest NCAA FBS offensive coordinator in the nation at age 24 in early 2011.
Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.
With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future. The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.
Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.
At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas. The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.
Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels. He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.