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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Football

Q&A: Offensive coordinator talks Texas Tech


Thanks, in part, to offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, the Cougars dominated the Owls on offense Saturday night. | Frank Campos/The Cougar

Despite the defense’s dominance so far this season, the Cougar offense needed a week to get straight after struggling in week one against the Arizona Wildcats.

New offensive coordinator Brian Johnson has been calling plays while working with Texas A&M-transfer and starting quarterback Kyle Allen since training camp to get him comfortable in the offense.

We talked to Johnson about the offensive resurgence that saw Allen finish Saturday’s game with the highest completion percentage in Cougar history and about upcoming opponent Texas Tech.

The Cougar: What do you think contributed most to the difference in offensive play between weeks one and two?

Johnson: Just playing a game, having a much better week of practice and having a feel of what game day is like. Knowing how you need to play, perform, execute and take care of every single detail. I think it was much improved, but we still have a lot to improve on.

TC: Kyle Allen left the field with the highest completion percentage in school history. What contributed to that last week?

Johnson: It’s everything. Coach Applewhite says it all the time: Practice habits are game day realities. We really need to take care of the fundamentals of taking the assignment and doing our job. Kyle had a really good week of practice, and it really don’t surprise that he had such a good game.

TC: How has it been getting used to play-calling for UH as the new offensive coordinator?

Johnson: It’s been fine. It’s been just like normal. You know, we have a great offensive staff. I get to be around a lot of great football players. You get to be around good people, so I am having a blast. Each week presents a new challenge, but we will get it done.

TC: What does Texas Tech do that some of your guys may not be familiar with?

Johnson: I think they have some good players, particularly in the back end. I think their corners are long and athletic, and they are big and strong up front. I think those guys are a very talented group, and we have to be ready to play our game and play well.

TC: Are you tempted to have a shootout with their high-powered offense?

Johnson: Each game is completely different. I’ve been around football long enough, and I’ve seen games that have been 51-50 and been in games that have been three (to) nothing. At the end of the day, you want to find a play that is worth more than six points. All you can worry about is one play at a time, one possession at a time.

TC: You seem to be rotating your running backs regularly. Is that something you are going to continue to keep players healthy?

Johnson: That’s the day and age of college football that we are in. The days of 1985 and giving a guy 30 to 35 carries a game is just not productive. You want to keep a guy fresh and ready to go. It’s a very long season, and at some point, you are going to need guys to be able to carry that load.

TC: Will D’Eriq King be a good fit for the offense once he returns from injury?

Johnson: Absolutely. He is dynamic, and he has the natural ability to be a very special player. From his mentality, how he practices, how he works, how he leads, I love D’Eriq King. I love coaching him, and I love him being in my room. He is a great young man, and I am excited for him to get out here and get healthy.

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