This is 30: Houston's Brian Johnson is back home, an rising offensive

One of the nation’s foremost offensive minds, Mullen is often THE play-caller no matter his title. It happened that way at Utah, Florida and Mississippi State. But last year, despite being quarterback coach behind a pair of co-offensive coordinators, Mullen allowed Johnson to call some plays from the booth; he called 50 percent of the Bulldogs plays against Texas A&M, for example.

“He’s with the quarterbacks,” Mullen said following the Texas A&M game, in which the Bulldogs put up 35 points and 365 yards rushing. “He calls a lot of plays anyway. A lot of times we’re on the same page … It was a great sounding board for me.”

Those play calls were opportunities earned. But it’s the entire three-year stop in Starkville under Mullen that prepared Johnson for his second go-round as an offensive coordinator.

“(Dan) really helped me continue to understand every aspect of the game,” Johnson said. “Dive deep into offensive line play, dive deep into defensive structure, really just become a sponge in terms of how he leads, organizes and motivates. It’s been great to watch him my entire career basically.

“Now I get a chance to go out there and add a little twist to it.”