Experience: 1987-1988: Head freshman coach at UC Davis
1989-1991: Wide Receivers coach at UC Davis
1992: Quarterbacks coach at Pittsburgh
1993-1994: Quarterbacks coach at Portland State
1995-2000: Wide Receivers coach at Oregon
2001-2005: Offensive coordinator at Boise State
2006- Present: Head coach at Boise State (66-5 record)
Current Position: Head coach at Boise State
Philosophy: Petersen's Boise State teams have always produced one of the top offenses in the country, evidenced by the fact that since 2007, his offenses have never finished lower than 18th in the country in total offense. His attack is as balanced as it comes, as his use of run and pass plays is nearly evenly split. He'll use the run to set up the pass, but also isn't afraid to turn his quarterback loose and let him make the necessary throws to win the game. He always seems to have a trick up his sleeve in his offensive game plan and has developed Boise State into a team known for a balanced and high scoring attack.
On the defensive side of the ball, Petersen has done an outstanding job of developing his players to create a dominant unit collectively. In 2010, his Bronco defense ranked second in the nation in yards and points allowed and was number one in the country in tackles for loss and sacks. His defenses have been consistently prevented its opponents from staying games, as the high scoring Boise State offense racks up the yards and the points for all four quarters.
Why he may be hired:
1. Top candidate: It's hard to argue that there is a more desirable coach in college football right now in terms of both affordability and success. Petersen will be the coach in Boise as long as he wants, but every year he'll be a target for vacant coaching positions. Arizona will have its crack at him, and due to Greg Byrne's connection with Petersen from their Oregon days, the UA athletic director is rumored to be confident in his chances to lure the Boise headman to Tucson.
. Relationship with Byrne: Petersen and Byrne have a relationship that dates back to 1995 when Byrne was the regional director of development at Oregon. While this may be enough to only get Byrne in the door with Petersen, the familiarity and the relationship the two have developed may make Arizona a more enticing option.
3. Chance to prove his worth: While a 66-5 record is certainly impressive; Petersen's accomplishments are often scrutinized by a perceived lack of competition on the schedule for the Broncos. By taking over at Arizona, Petersen would have the opportunity to show the quality of coach he truly is if he is able to bring Arizona out of the cellar of the Pac-12 to a level where it can compete annually for conference championships.
4. Winner: Say what you will about the competitiveness of the Boise State schedule, it ca not be discounted the level of success Petersen has had as a head coach. With a winning percentage near 93, Arizona will be hard pressed to find a candidate better suited to bring it the wins the fan base wants so badly. If he's able to successfully implement his system at Arizona, he could end up taking the program to an entirely new level of success.
5. Stability: The hiring of Petersen would not only put the program in a pair of the most trusted hands in college football, but his reputation would almost certainly ensure the retention of the 2012 recruiting class. Throw in the fact that he's the type of big name that the Arizona faithful will almost certainly rally behind from the get-go, and Arizona football may not be in its current condition for too long is Petersen is brought in to take over.
Why he may not be hired:
1. Desire to stay in Boise: Last offseason, Petersen turned down an offer to coach to a Stanford team in much better shape than the condition Arizona is in currently. If an offer to return to his home state and take over a top-10 program in a top tier conference isn't enough to get him to leave Boise, can Greg Byrne convince him to trade the Blue Turf for the Old Pueblo?
2. Salary: At Boise State, Petersen currently makes an annual salary of $1.6 million, which is already $200,000 more than what Mike Stoops made in 2010. You have to believe that in order to attract Petersen to Tucson, he'll want to be the first or second highest paid coach in all of the Pac-12. That would mean his salary would fall between Lane Kiffen's $3.6 million and Chip Kelly's $2.9 million dollars. Can Arizona raise the funds to meet Petersen's likely contract demands?
3. Can he recruit at a high level? Although it has hardly prevented him from having success at Boise State, Petersen has yet to have a recruiting class in his tenure that has ranked in Scout's top 25 recruiting classes. While his ability to develop players in not in question, he'll have to recruit at a high level at Arizona in order to keep the Wildcats competitive, something he's yet to do in his career.
4. The spotlight: Petersen is the most popular man in the city of Boise and perhaps the state of Idaho due to the level of success that he's had as the head coach of the Broncos. Would he be willing to sacrifice all of that and move to Tucson, where Sean Miller and the men's basketball program have and always will reign supreme over the football team and any coach it could possibly bring in? Having to give up the spotlight to Miller is something Petersen may not be willing to do.
5. Job Security: Due to his success in just five years as the head coach at Boise State, it's likely that he could coach there for the duration of his career, be paid a competitive salary, and continue to rack up the wins. In Arizona, where he'll start in the bottom half of the Pac-12 and be forced to build his way up, that security will not be a guarantee. Is Arizona the right job for Petersen to put that stability on the line for? Only time will tell.