December 27, 2016 4:38:38 PM
STARKVILLE -- A year after hiring four new defensive coaches, Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen will have to hire a new offensive coach this offseason.
MSU quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson was named the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Houston, new Houston coach Major Applewhite announced Tuesday. Johnson's hiring comes one day after MSU beat Miami (Ohio) University 17-16 in the St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Mullen declined to comment via a text message when asked about the departure of Johnson.
Johnson, a Baytown, Texas, native has spent the last three seasons in Starkville. In his first two seasons, he helped the development of Dak Prescott. Prescott broke 38 school records at MSU and is currently the starting quarterback for the 13-2 Dallas Cowboys.
"He was unbelievable and I'm very thankful to have him as a coach. Once I got the offense down, he took me to another level and his knowledge of the game was invaluable," said Prescott in a Houston press release. "It meant a lot to have someone who has played at such a high level be able to teach you. You look at the success he had with his undefeated season at Utah and you know he can back up what he is teaching. He's also a great guy who pushes you to be a better person in the community and academically. I'm very proud of him."
He has spent this last season developing sophomore Nick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was named the starting quarterback a week before MSU opened the season. Fitzgerald broke Prescott's school single-season rushing record by a quarterback with 1,375 yards. Prescott is one and two in the school record books in single-season total offense (4,435 yards in 2014 and 4,381 yards in 2015), while Fitzgerald is third with 3,798 yards this season.
Johnson was recruited by Mullen while at Utah and played from 2004-08 at Utah. Mullen left after the 2004 season to follow coach Urban Meyer to Florida.
He served as the Utah quarterbacks coach for two seasons (2010-11) before being promoted to offensive coordinator. He served as the Utes' offensive coordinator for two seasons (2012-13) before heading to Starkville to join Mullen's staff.
Although Mullen handles most of the play calling duties, he admitted this season that Johnson called several plays late in the season so Mullen could focus on being a head coach -- dealing with the offense and defense equally.