Utah QB Nate Johnson Apologizes For Offense, Vows To Keep Working Hard

Sep 23, 2023, 10:38 PM | Updated: Sep 25, 2023, 2:23 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Backup quarterback Nate Johnson apologized for the offensive production against UCLA on X while vowing to Utah fans he’s planning to keep working hard.

The Utes walked away from Rice-Eccles with 14-7 win over the Bruins, but only seven of Utah’s points came from the offense. The other seven were the result of a pick six from linebacker Karene Reid to start the game.

There is no doubt Utah’s offense has been bogged down without starter Cam Rising and a myriad of other key pieces including running backs Ja’Quinden Jackson (not full strength) and Micah Bernard (out for the season), wide receiver Mycah Pittman, and tight end Brant Kuithe. However, despite missing those pieces, Johnson and crew have figured out how to do enough to continue getting the wins in their absence.

What Nate Johnson Said On X

I apologize for the way the game was played out. Credit to our defense for an amazing performance. We will be better next week. Our offense is still awesome, just things will get cleaned up. See you guys next Friday.

There is obviously some angst about the way the offense has played, but it’s important to remember the Utes are not only currently operating with a lot of starters missing, but guys that have very little to no previous experience playing.

Johnson just wrapped up only his second career start in college and the competition was ramped up significantly from his first start against Weber State.


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While the numbers aren’t eye-popping, yet (9-17 passing, 117 yards, one touchdown, 14 carries for 46 yards) he’s done exactly what the staff and team has needed him to do- protect the football, run clock, and get points where he can.

He’s shown he can do that. He’s also shown an impressive propensity for staying calm and poised in high pressure situations early on too. The more technical aspects of the game? Johnson will continue to learn and get comfortable with it the more reps he gets.

Most importantly, he just showed he is a good leader. He’s taken ownership of the team, the offense and his current role within those realms.

While there is no arguing Utah needs Rising and the rest of the offense back soon, it’s also very clear they are in good hands in the meantime. Johnson just showed how this team does matters very much to him by publicly taking ownership of it whether he really needed to or not. That is impressive stuff.

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 XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah QB Nate Johnson Apologizes For Offense, Vows To Keep Working Hard