This was not the safe move. Sure, Kyle Whittingham could have hired some 50-year lifetime assistant coach with BCS conference experience to run his offense, but where's the fun in that?
Whittingham's choice of Brian Johnson as his new offensive coordinator couldn't have been more shocking. Going from 65-year-old Norm Chow who had more experience than almost any assistant coach in the country, to 24-year-old Johnson, who is just three years removed from his senior year in college, was stunning to say the least.
But while many Ute fans are ripping Whitt for giving the keys to the offense to a guy who can't even legally rent a car yet, I say we must take a step back and trust the Utes head coach.
Whittingham has been around Johnson for eight years, and he knows Johnson's capabilities inside and out. If Whittingham says Johnson is ready to become the youngest offensive coordinator in the country, then we must take him at his word. Afterall, it was Johnson who called most of the plays himself in Utah's biggest win in history, the 2009 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.
It was after that game that Johnson was destined to become a coach. It's just that nobody thought he'd reach this level this soon. But Johnson is a winner who knows what it takes to win. No quarterback in Utah history has won more games than Johnson.
Whittingham has always said he would take talent over experience. Just look at all the true freshmen he has started over the years, from Brian Blechen to Jordan Wynn. But even athletic director Chris Hill asked Whittingham, "Is he really ready?"
Whittingham isn't the riskiest guy by nature. He could, in fact, be called conservative. This is not a conservative choice. But with all the success he has had over the years, I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Let's see what Johnson can do with the Utes offense. Who knows, with a healthy senior quarterback like Jordan Wynn, and a potent rushing attack with John White and new recruit Kelvin York, an extremely talented receiving corps led by Devonte Christopher and Dres Anderson, Johnson may work wonders with the offense.
There's no question Whittingham likes to be heavily involved in all facets of his team. He relinquished a lot of that control to Chow, and I don't think Whitt liked it one bit. With Johnson, he can mold him into the coordinator he wants.
Whittingham is either going to look like a genius, or a fool. Only time will tell. But until then, Ute fans must trust in Whitt.