Nick de laTorre/Twitter screenshot
Florida QBs coach Brian Johnson was once a video game cover boy.

Florida QBs coach Brian Johnson reflects on video game cover appearance

Ryan Young

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Florida’s Brian Johnson was on cover of NCAA Football ’10

This probably comes up a lot in conversation for new Florida quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson, but he was asked again Thursday about his appearance on the PlayStation 3 cover for EA Sports’ NCAA Football ’10.

Johnson was the starting quarterback at Utah in 2005, 2007 and 2008 (sitting a year to rehab an injury), passing for 7,853 yards, 57 touchdowns and 27 interceptions in his collegiate career.

He memorably led the Utes to a Sugar Bowl win against Alabama after the 2008 season to complete a perfect year, which explains why he was chosen as a video game cover boy.

“It was definitely a highlight. I was extremely excited,” Johnson said Thursday. “That was something growing up, you grew up playing that game. I remember when you first get in college and they put you in the game, you argue in the locker room, like they don’t rate you high enough and this, that and the other. So, when I got a chance to be on the cover, that was something that was extremely special.”

Johnson was making his first appearance with local media Thursday after being hired as Florida’s new quarterbacks coach.

He spent last season as the offensive coordinator at Houston, but he played for Gators coach Dan Mullen during his first year at Utah and later coached under him at Mississippi State.

Johnson has already distinguished himself as a player and coach, but his turn as a video game cover subject will always be a strong conversation topic.

When he was asked Thursday about the topic, he joked, “I’m selling them, y’all want some?”

“We had the first staff meeting, Coach Mullen still had a copy of it and he pulled it out,” Johnson said. “I have to keep it for proof just for my kids one day in case they don’t believe me that I actually used to play now that I’m old and fat and bald.”

Johnson also talked about Florida football, discussing the Gators’ “open” QB competition and the reason why he left an offensive coordinator gig at Houston to be a position coach at Florida.

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In other Florida football news …

  • New Florida running backs coach Greg Knox had a surprisingly encouraging update on injured Gators running back Malik Davis, who had his incredible freshman season ended by a serious knee injury. Knox didn’t say when he expected Davis back, but he offered a more promising update than many might have expected.
  • New Florida assistant coach Larry Scott offered music to Gators’ fans’ ears, who have been clamoring for the team to utilize its tight ends better. Here’s what he said. 
  • The latest Chomp Chat podcast touches on how Florida’s assistant coaches are reiterating Mullen’s lofty expectations for the program.
  • Mullen’s SEC Media Days appearance has been set for Tuesday, July 17.

Recruiting roundup

  • SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi tackles the topic of whether Florida will end its IMG Academy recruiting drought.
  • Abolverdi also writes that Tyrique Stevenson, who de-committed from the Gators, is again considering Florida. This is what the 4-star defensive back said: “I talked to coach [Charlton] Warren, Coach Johnson and Coach Mullen. Coach Johnson came down to the school to talk to the seniors and I was able to meet him. I like the new DB coach, too.” Read more here.

On the court

  • The Florida women’s basketball team lost 70-42 to No. 15 Tennessee on Thursday night. It was the last home game for the Gators, who dropped to 11-17 overall and 3-12 in the SEC.

What they’re saying on Twitter

  • ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay is impressed with Florida DT Taven Bryan:

  • Florida women’s golf standout Sierra Brooks is up for a prestigious award:

  • ESPN’s latest bracketology projections:

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