Nate Johnson On Utah’s New-Found Offensive Spark Ahead Of USC

Oct 19, 2023, 7:35 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah quarterback Nate Johnson joined Unrivaled’s Player’s Club Thursday evening to discuss the Utes’ offensive spark ahead of a big matchup against USC this weekend.

Despite sitting 5-1 on the season, the Utes have struggled quite a bit to find an offensive flow and identity in 2023 until last weekend’s game against Cal. Add in some of the injuries Utah has sustained and it’s been a real grind.

However, Johnson went into some details about how the offensive unit turned things around last week using some creativity and what that may mean as the Utes head to Los Angeles this weekend to face the Trojans.

Utah Finding A Spark On Offense

Utah was able to get the run game going with safety Sione Vaki and running back Ja’Quinden Jackson that resulted in 317 rushing yards and 34 points. The best marks of the season by a long shot for Utah. Johnson says those results have given the offense a little spark and confidence.

“It gave us a spark,” Johnson said. “The offense- we haven’t really been doing great all year and seeing that we got that spark from the Cal game scoring 34 points- really, we could have put 40 on them, but we had to calm it down a little bit. Getting the spark, and the defense doing what they do every week- not allowing them that many points and going into a big game like this while USC is coming off a 28-point loss- their backs are against the wall. They can’t afford to lose another game. We can’t afford to lose another game. Both teams are going to come out fast, come out physical and Saturday is going to be one good game.”

Staying Ready Despite Not Being Part Of The Game Plan

Another big change for the Utah offense last week was the guy under center. Johnson had been that guy for the Utes since the last two drives against Baylor, but last week Utah went back to Bryson Barnes after a tough outing against Oregon State.

There is no doubt Johnson isn’t disappointed, but, as he wisely noted, he’s always a play or two plays away from his team potentially needing him and it’s not something he can dwell on for too long.

“I’m one play away,” Johnson said. “I don’t think they have a game plan for me- I’m not sure yet. Whatever the coaches come up with- if I am in the game plan, I’m in the game plan and I have to execute. If I’m not in the game plan, I just have to stay ready. You never know when your number is going to get called. The game plan is going to be real good this week. I’m excited to travel down to L.A. once again and instead of two years ago when I was sitting in the Coliseum watching Utah play, now I’m on the field playing against Southern California.”

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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Nate Johnson On Utah’s New-Found Offensive Spark Ahead Of USC