The Florida Gators secret guru

Brian Johnson observes warmups before a game—Photo Credit: Alex Shepherd

“So the index finger is the last one off the ball.”

Brian Johnson motions out with his right arm, dropping each digit, mimicking a ball coming smoothly out of his hand.

“Like a revolver chamber, just spin it and that ball spins like a spiral. So you really wanna guide that index finger being the last one off the ball to get the ball to spin in that motion.”

The Florida Gators quarterbacks coach is explaining what it takes to throw the perfect spiral…and therefore what makes the act one of the most difficult things to teach young passers.

“There’s a bunch of different things that can affect it in terms of like, if they grip the ball too tight, if they grip it too loose, if they hold it too far back, if they hold it too far forward, their release point.”

It’s a lot of physics, he jokes. But it’s the physical act that perplexes the most passers. Off the field though, that’s where Brian Johnson has really honed a style that has proven successful.

Finishing up his second year in Gainesville and fifth overall under head coach Dan Mullen, Johnson has proven his ability to coach the physics, the position and whatever role given to him by his former offensive coordinator at Utah.

“It’s a guy that I coached a little bit, not a ton, but played the position, played at an extremely high level,” explains Mullen, continuing, “[he’s] a younger guy that related to everybody in the room. He’s extremely intelligent. He coaches the quarterback in a way I like them to be coached. He has his own personality to it. We’re different in how we coach them, but we work really well together in that way and have the same goal. He’s extremely intelligent. He brings a lot to the coaching and the technique part to the game. He has a great understanding of playing the position and what it is to be a quarterback on the field and obviously extremely intelligent within the scheme and game plan and play calling.”