Coaching Profile: Paul Petrino

Paul Petrino has been mentioned as a candidate for the Arizona vacancy. Read on to see why he would and would not be a good fit and more.

Coach: Paul Petrino

Experience: 1990-1991: Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Carroll College

1992-1994: Wide receivers, running backs, special teams coach at Idaho

1995-1997: Wide receivers, special teams coach at Utah State

1998-1999: Wide receivers coach at Louisville

2000-2002: Quarterbacks coach at Southern Mississippi

2003-2006:Offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach at Louisville

2007: Wide receivers coach for Atlanta Falcons

2008-2009: Offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach at Arkansas

2010-present: Offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach at Illinois

Current position: Offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Illinois

Philosophy:: There's no denying the success that Petrino has had offensively wherever he has coached. His 2010 Illinois team broke school records for total points, and points per game, and his Arkansas teams ranked 14th in total offense in 2010. During his four years at Louisville as the offensive coordinator, Louisville averaged 41.1 points per game, and in 2004 the Cardinals led the nation in total offense and scoring offense.

Petrino's offenses are versatile, as he coached Ryan Mallett to 16 school records in 2009 with 3624 yards and 30 passing touchdowns, as well as now Lions running back Mikel Leshoure to a school record 1697 yards rushing and 20 total touchdowns. His primary preference of moving the football is through the air with the spread offense, but Petrino has shown a willingness to play with what he's given and adapt his offense accordingly.



Reasons why he should be hired:

1. Offensive firepower: His reputation as an offensive guru speaks for itself, and Petrino is without question one of the top offensive minds in all of college football. The system and the players are already in place at Arizona for him to have immediate success calling plays for the Wildcats, and it's likely he'll be able to keep the Wildcats passing game near the top of the Pac-12 right from the get-go.

2. Desire to be a head coach: In 2009, Petrino received his first offer to become a head coach, and although he turned down the job at Western Kentucky University, he did admit that he hoped to be a head coach someday. Arizona would be the first legitimate look he has received from a BCS conference team, and that may be enough to get him to take over in Tucson.

3. Affordability: Petrino makes $475,000 as offensive coordinator at Illinois, so bringing him on as head coach would likely come at a very reasonable price.

4. Success with Illinois : In 2009, Illinois posted a 3-9 record and was one of the worst teams in the Big-10. In his first season as the offensive coordinator of the Illini, he used a freshman quarterback to have one of the best offensive seasons statistically in school history, and was a huge role in a turnaround that brought about a 7-6 finish. This season, Illinois is 6-0 and has another great offense, due in large part to the coaching abilities of Petrino.

5.Exciting hire: While Petrino may not have the name value of some of the other candidates that he may be competing with for the job, it's no secret that Bobby Petrino's younger brother is one of the hottest up and coming coaches in college football. While Arizona could certainly use a coach with a lot of coaching experience, if it opts to go the assistant route, Petrino will certainly be an option.



Reasons why he should not be hired:

1. Experience: Petrino has been an assistant coach for over 20 years now, but he's never had a team of his own. Like all other assistant coaches in his same position, that lack of head coaching experience could ultimately end his candidacy very early in the process.

2. If he is successful, how long would he stay? It is likely that Petrino will become a head coach somewhere in the near future. But if we learn one thing from his rejection of Western Kentucky in 2009, it is that he has a strong desire to break in with a high profile job. If he does receive the Arizona coaching job and brings the Wildcats back into contention in the Pac-12, he may look to return back East and use his success from UA to catapult him to a more attractive coaching job.

3. Recruiting: As alluded to with previous candidates, bringing in a coach with few West Coast ties could make recruiting difficult initially for Petrino. While UA would likely get a boost in the Midwest, it can ill afford to fall behind in California and Arizona, something that could very well happen should Petrino take over as head coach.

4. Is he the right fit? In his press conference after relieving Mike Stoops of his duties, Greg Byrne and President Sander both expressed their desire for a coach that not only fit the football program, but also fits as a good representative of the program. Petrino has little experience handling boosters and expectations from the fans, and while he does not have a bad reputation, unlike other assistant coaches being mentioned for the Arizona job, he does not have a reputation as a charmer or a charismatic guy either. For that reason, he may move behind other viable candidates on Byrne's radar.

5. Not a high profile name: There are several former head coaches that could be iin the running for the head coach position at Arizona, and if Byrne decides to settle on Petrino, it may upset those UA fans that wanted him to pursue a more high profile coach or assistant for the vacancy.


Wildcat Authority Top Stories