Kyle Whittingham Is Excited For Utah Trio Making Jump To NFL Coaching Ranks

Mar 19, 2021, 9:24 AM
Urban Meyer, Brian Johnson, Quinton Ganther - Utah Utes...
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images and Deseret News)
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images and Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham is excited for the three coaches that once were Utes and now made the jump to the NFL.

Kyle Whittingham talked about the moves that former Utah coaches and players Urban Meyer, Quinton Ganther and Brian Johnson made to the NFL during the off-season.

Whittingham either coached or worked with all three individuals during their time at Utah.

Kyle Whittingham On Urban Meyer Moving To NFL

After spending the last two seasons as the lead analyst for FOX College Football, Urban Meyer decided to get back into coaching. This time he wanted to try his hand at being a head coach for an NFL franchise. Not only that, but taking over a team that recorded just one win during the 2020 season. With the No. 1 overall pick in hand for the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, Meyer has all the tools to turn around the Jaguars franchise.

In two seasons at Utah, Meyer led the Utes to a 22-2 record with two conference titles and a Fiesta Bowl win over Pittsburgh to cap off an undefeated season in 2004. They became the first non-BCS school to win a BCS bowl game.

The Jaguars officially announced Meyer as their head coach on January 14.

“Excited to see what Urban will do in the NFL,” Whittingham said. “That’s a new challenge for him, it’s an arena that he hasn’t been in. It’s a leap of faith, but it’s a situation where it’s all new, because it is a much different situation in the NFL than it is in college. So, excited to see and I’m sure he’ll do very well. I got no doubt about that.”

Former Utah Running Back Quinton Ganther

Ganther had a successful two seasons as the running back for the Utes in 2004 and 2005. After five years in the NFL, Ganther returned to Utah to finish his degree and was a student assistant coach under Jay Hill, who coached the running backs at Utah in 2012. When Hill became the head coach of Weber State in 2013, Ganther was one of his first hires to coach his running backs.

“Q was doing a great job at Weber State for several years,” Whittingham stated. “He was an outstanding coach for Jay Hill and the Wildcats and I think he’s got the right mentality. Having had his experience in the NFL, he knows what it’s all about. He was an NFL vet of several years, and knows exactly how that league runs and how things operate. So I think he’ll be a real asset to Urban.”

Weber State has been a national championship contender with a big part coming from their production at the running back position. Ganther has coached six running backs that have either earned all-conference or All-American honors.

Now Ganther will join his head coach from his college days as the Bay Area native will make the jump from Weber State to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I’m fired up for Urban, the opportunity he has,” said Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley. “I’m excited to watch the progress there. In terms of Quinton Ganther, I’ve loved that guy ever since I played with him. He is a player’s coach. He’s also very demanding which his coaches were with him. I see those players at that level really buying into Quinton and his way of doing things, so Jacksonville’s lucky to have those two.”

Former Utah Quarterback Brian Johnson

Johnson had a legendary career as the quarterback for the Utes. He led the team to an undefeated season in 2008 and a win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. After his successful college career, Johnson went on to coach at Utah from 2010-13, where he was the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Then he went to the SEC to join Dan Mullen at Mississippi State as the QB coach. After his time in Starkville, Johnson went to Houston as the OC for one season.

When Dan Mullen took over as head coach of Florida, he brought Johnson with him to coach the quarterbacks. In 2020, Johnson was promoted to offensive coordinator, becoming the first Black OC in Florida football history.

Now Johnson will head to Philadelphia to coach the quarterbacks which includes Jalen Hurts.

“I think the NFL is a great fit for him, his temperament, the way he handles himself, his style of coaching, I think is very well suited for the NFL,” Whittingham mentioned. “He’s going to be working with the Hurts kid and I think that’s a good pairing there.”

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Kyle Whittingham Is Excited For Utah Trio Making Jump To NFL Coaching Ranks