After earning his degree from the University of North Carolina and not finding a graduate assistant position to his liking, Johnson decided to go to work as a software developer. The company was based in California, but Johnson worked out of Durham, N.C.
“We only had three people in our office out in North Carolina,” Johnson said. “Went 9 to 5 staring at a computer screen all day before I realized my life was going to fly by, I was going to have a house, I was going to have kids and decided I might as well take a shot while I could. My offensive coordinator at Carolina ended up at Boston College and had an opportunity for me to be a graduate assistant for them, which I turned and ran with.”
In our continuing series looking deeper into the new members of Head Coach Joe Philbin’s staff, we introduce you to Johnson and give you a better look at his background and his style.
NFL Coaching Experience: This will be Johnson’s first coaching job in the NFL.
College Coaching Experience: Johnson began at Boston College as the team’s video graduate assistant and then was the offensive graduate assistant the past two years. In 2011, he worked with the BC tight ends.
Playing Career Summary: After being named conference Player of the Year as a high school senior at Reynolds High, Johnson walked on at the University of North Carolina and spent four seasons as a backup quarterback.
Did You Know?: The starting quarterback at the University of North Carolina during Johnson’s senior season was T.J. Yates, who was taken in the fifth round of the 2011 draft by the Houston Texans and was their starting quarterback in the playoffs.
By The Numbers: One of the tight ends Johnson worked with last season, Chris Pantale, tied for the team lead with three touchdown receptions.
Dolphins Connections: Barry Gallup is the associate AD for football operations at Boston College, where Johnson coached the past two seasons. His resume also includes several years as head coach at Northeastern, where his offensive coordinator/offensive line coach in 1995-96 was none other than Joe Philbin.
Off The Field: Johnson likes to golf and travel, but the first thing he mentions when talking about his off-the-field interests is Sudoku. “I’m a champion Sudoku player,” he says without hesitation. Johnson says he’ll do five to 10 puzzles at night while watching television — and he doesn’t bother with the easy ones.
Johnson On His Coaching Philosophy: “Coaches are expected to teach, critique and demand and then the players are responsible for effort, preparing and performing. As long as everyone knows what their responsibility is, success will follow. At the same time, having fun and enjoying yourself will come along with that. ... I am young, but I’ve been around five different offensive coordinators in the short amount of time I’ve been a player and a coach. I think it’s important at the end of the day that you enjoy yourself and that the people around you like you and you like them, you enjoy going to work. It’s long hours and it’s stressful, but at the end of the day you’ve got to be having fun.”
Johnson On Joining The Dolphins: “I was jacked up. I was really jacked up. The offseason had been kind of slow, then all of a sudden things started heating up for me. To have the opportunity to come down to Florida and not only be part of a great organization but around great people, I’m really, really excited about it.”