Sunday, December 13, 2009
Illinois expected to tab Petrino as OC
By Adam Rittenberg
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.