Big Ten: Mike Locklsey

Big Ten's lunch links

May, 6, 2014
Ron Zook didn't waste much time in finding one of Illinois' new coordinators.

Illinois is expected to name Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino to the same position early this week, sources tell ESPN Scouts Inc.'s JC Shurburtt and The (Champaign) News-Gazette. Petrino, the brother of Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, will replace Mike Schultz, one of four Illinois assistants fired Friday following a 3-9 season.

Zook also might find a defensive coordinator after demoting Dan Disch and Curt Mallory. Former Kansas defensive coordinator Bill Miller, who served under Zook at Florida, is a possibility.

An Illinois official couldn't confirm Petrino's hiring Sunday night.

Petrino, who was in the mix for Western Kentucky's head-coaching vacancy, guided a Razorbacks offense that leads the SEC and ranks eighth nationally in scoring (37.3 ppg). Arkansas ranks 10th nationally in passing and 14th in total offense, and quarterback Ryan Mallett, a transfer from Michigan, has developed into a superstar under the Petrino brothers.

This is an interesting move for Petrino, who has a much more stable situation at Arkansas but likely will be making much more at Illinois. He would join a coaching staff in Champaign that likely needs to reach a bowl in 2010 to keep their jobs.

Petrino's power spread offense is much more pass oriented than the system both Schultz and Mike Lockley ran at Illinois. The Illini lose several receivers but could get Arrelious Benn back next year.

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Juice Williams enters 2009 as one of the Big Ten's most recognizable players, a proven quarterback in a league starved for them.

  Chuck Rydlewski/Icon SMI
  Juice Williams was a second-team All-Big Ten selection last fall.

Williams has experienced just about everything at Illinois: A 10-loss season as a raw, yet talented freshman, a thrilling Rose Bowl run as a sophomore and a very disappointing campaign as a junior last fall. Illinois led the Big Ten in passing and ranked second in total offense but struggled to a 5-7 finish. Williams, a second-team All-Big Ten selection last fall, wants to end his college career on a good note, and perhaps for the first time he has truly taken ownership of the team.

Earlier this week, Williams discussed his up-and-down 2008 season, his outlook for the future and his legacy at Illinois.

What's been the mood for you and the guys during offseason workouts after things didn't go the way you wanted them to last fall?

Juice Williams: The attitude of this year's team is completely different from what we had last year at this time. Obviously, we didn't end up the way we should have or what we thought we should have. But that's affected this team in such a positive way. [The struggles] may be one of the best things to happen to this team.

Guys now are realizing that if we don't come to play every week, we're not going to be successful. And in order to come out there and play like that, we have to train and prepare our bodies to play 12 games to the maximum potential. Guys have really taken on that role, and I think we'll be ready by the time the season comes around.

Do you think guys were taking things for granted a little bit last year, especially coming off a Rose Bowl run?

JW: I think it had some type of affect on it. Guys kind of slacked off a little bit. We didn't really have the same intensity in the offseason as we should have. But like I said, I think it was probably the best thing that happened to us, not going to a bowl game. Us bringing back so many seniors and so much experience for this year, it's going to really prepare this team in the right direction.

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