Monday, January 24, 2011
Mike Johnson eyes UCLA's offense
LOS ANGELES -- Rick Neuheisel is an offensive-minded coach, and that's just fine with the man he brought on to handle that side of the ball for the UCLA Bruins.
New offensive coordinator Mike Johnson told Steve Mason and John Ireland on Monday he has no issues with Neuheisel's desire to be involved in the offense.
"Our main goal initially is to go in and correct some of the problems we had here last year," Johnson, the former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator, said in an interview on 710 ESPN. "We have to be able to throw the ball more effectively, we have to be more detailed in all aspects of the offense and we're going to get together, outline the run game, the passing game and then, once we get closer to the season, then we're going to find out how we're going to actually do it.
"I know Rick wants to be involved in the play-calling and I have no problem with that."
Johnson, who will also coach wide receivers, said the Pistol offense, which the Bruins installed last season with mixed results, will be a part of the new offense, but not the focus.
"My philosophy is that I want to make a defense defend the entire field, horizontally and vertically, and that is going to be the goal, so we're going to put together an offense -- and we're going to give it a new name, eventually -- but the Pistol is going to be a portion of it; it won't be the entire offense," said Johnson.
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The Pistol helped revamp a UCLA running attack and the Bruins averaged 175 yards rushing per game, but their passing attack ranked No. 116 out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.
"I believe that you develop an offense around the talent that you have, and you don't make the talent fit into a certain offense," Johnson said. "So I'm going to go back as the offensive coordinator and evaluate the players and see what is the best place and the best offense to put the players in."
One of those players is freshman quarterback Brett Hundley, who is attending classes at UCLA and is expected to compete with the other quarterbacks in spring practice.
"The kid's a tremendous competitor, a good athlete," Johnson said, adding, "I think he's very intelligent, smart kid. He's poised, now we just have to wait and see how he reacts on the field under pressure."