Georgia brings in a new offensive voice, and at a discount

Georgia-Kirby Smart
Kirby Smart (visor) has brought in help for offensive coordinator Jim Chaney (far right.)

There’s a new offensive analyst on Georgia’s football staff, and it comes at a low cost for the school.

Jay Johnson, who spent last year as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator, was hired by Georgia to be an analyst, a document provided by the school confirms. And he’s going to earn $50,000.

Yes, only five digits. There’s a reason for that.

When Johnson was hired by Minnesota, he was given a two-year contract paying $550,000 per year. So when he was fired along with most of the staff, the Gophers were on the hook for his salary this year.

Thus, Georgia will pay Johnson at a low level.

Analysts are, by NCAA rule, prohibited from doing any on-field coaching during practices or games. Their role is to advise behind the scenes by watching practice tape and evaluating.

Johnson’s connection to Georgia and Kirby Smart is unclear. He’s from Minnesota and has spent his entire career outside the SEC. Prior to his year at Minnesota — where he was also the quarterbacks coach — Johnson was the OC/QB coach at Louisiana-Lafayette from 2011 to ’15. He’s also worked at Central Michigan, Louisville, Southern Miss and Kansas.

Jay Johnson spent one year as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. (Twitter photo)

Where did Johnson play? There’s an interesting story.

It was at Northern Iowa from 1989 to ’92, where he was the starting quarterback for three seasons, and the top backup was someone named Kurt Warner.

“I always tell people, ‘He’s worth millions; I’m a trivia question,’ ” Johnson said upon being hired at Minnesota last year, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Well, he may not be worth millions, but Johnson is a good deal for Georgia, which struggled on offense last year. And it lucked into Johnson, thanks to timing.

Minnesota let coach Tracy Claeys and most of the staff go late in the process, in early January, when most jobs already were filled. During a normal open market, Johnson almost certainly would have found an on-field job.

Under Johnson, the Gophers averaged 29.3 points per game, 63rd nationally, an improvement over averaging 22.3 points the year before Johnson’s arrival, ranking 105th nationally. Minnesota finished 107th in total offense last year, four spots lower than it was the year before.

At Louisiana-Lafayette, Johnson’s offense set school records in 2012 for total offense (5,914 yards) and points (461), and finished 24th in the nation in 2014 in rushing offense. The Ragin’ Cajuns also set a school record in 2013 for first downs and plays from scrimmage.

“We were considered a no-huddle team at times,” Johnson said, according to the Star Tribune. “We played with, I thought, fairly decent tempo; other times we didn’t. We were more concerned at the end of the day about being right than we were playing fast.”

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