Arkansas will have new coordinators in all areas by the time the Cotton Bowl rolls around on Jan. 6. That became obvious on Tuesday with the confirmation from Bobby Petrino that Willy Robinson is out as defensive coordinator and Paul Petrino has returned to coach quarterbacks and coordinate the offense.
Robinson, veteran with NFL experience, was let go on Monday after working for four seasons on Bobby Petrino's staff at Arkansas. Petrino termed it a resignation on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Petrino named his younger brother, Paul, as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, replacing Garrick McGee. It was announced Monday that McGee had taken the head coaching spot at Alabama-Birmingham.
Paul Petrino worked two years at Arkansas as offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach under Petrino before taking the OC job at Illinois under Ron Zook. Zook was fired last week. Petrino often took turns working with quarterbacks in his time at Arkansas when McGee spent time with special teams.
Arkansas will also have to replace its special teams coordinator. John L. Smith, who handled special teams and coached outside linebackers, left Petrino's staff to become head coach at Weber State.
Petrino released three different statements to confirm all three moves.
"I am extremely thrilled to have Paul become a member of our staff again," said UA head coach Bobby Petrino. "Paul has had several options with high level programs the past few days and I'm excited he made the decision to rejoin our program.
"His experience the last two seasons, blended with our philosophy will give us continuity with our aggressive scheme. Paul has a talented offensive mind and he has had great success every step of his career. His offensive numbers and rankings speak for themselves, and he has always had an incredible ability to develop players."
Smith has coached at Arkansas the last two seasons. Previously, he served as head coach at Michigan State and Louisivlle. It was at Louisville that Petrino worked under Smith. They have a long history together.
"I want to express my gratitude to John L. Smith for all he has done for me throughout my career and particularly the past three seasons he has been here at Arkansas," Petrino said. "Coach Smith did a tremendous job with our special teams and the results were evident this year. I've always said John L. Smith has a big heart and lets everyone in and I know those in his program will enjoy playing for him.
"By going to Weber State, his career comes full circle and he returns to a region of the country he knows very well. The relationship I've had with Coach Smith has always been one I have valued and he will always remain a trusted friend and advisor."
Concerning, Robinson, Petrino's statement said.
"I want to thank Willy Robinson for his role in helping our defense, which he leaves in better shape than when he arrived. I have the utmost respect for Willy Robinson as an individual who wants the best for the young men he coaches. I give Willy credit for his part in the building process the last four years and wish him future success."
Paul Petrino In, Willy Robinson Out
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