Paul Petrino has been a wide receiver coach most of his career. But if you watched football practices during his two years at Arkansas, you understood that he could take the reins of the quarterbacks at any second and coach them up.
In fact, Petrino did coach quarterbacks at times. He'd have them if Garrick McGee was on the road recruiting during bowl practices. He'd have them when McGee went to work with the special teams each practice.
Petrino mentioned that Tuesday when he was re-introduced as an assistant coach for his brother Bobby as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Paul said he knows the "progressions" in the offense, the quarterback keys in the passing game. He knows the reads. And he knows the inner workings of how to coach quarterbacks. He knows how to teach passing mechanics. There were times that you could see him teaching mechanics to the quarterbacks during his time with the quarterbacks in practice.
The bottom line is that Paul will coach quarterbacks exactly the way Bobby Petrino wants him to coach them, just as the head coach supervised every area of the way McGee tutored the quarterbacks. Anyone that doesn't believe that doesn't understand the way this head coach operates the offense.
It was interesting to watch a practice when the quarterbacks trotted over to Paul Petrino in 2008 and 2009. He did work them on certain reads in the option routes, sometimes becoming the defender that they used as the key. An old wishbone quarterback, Paul also would give them the finer points of option football.
Option reads have always been a part of the Petrino offense on the goal line or in short yardage situations. The Petrinos grew up running the wishbone, playing quarterback for Bob Petrino Sr., at Carroll College.
They ran option stuff in the backyard under the direction of their father as youngsters. They both know how to coach and develop quarterbacks.
The key in all of this is that they've been working together for a long time. Some forget that Paul not only played for his father, but he played for his brother. Bobby coached the quarterbacks at Carroll for his father when Paul was the quarterback.
The good news is that Tyler Wilson is going to get a fresh set of coaching points in his development as the quarterback. So will Brandon Mitchell and Brandon Allen, the next two in line. Sometimes it's good for a quarterback to hear some new ways to explain the same things.
"Bob taught me this stuff and I know it," Paul Petrino said. "I'm very excited to get started."
No one will say this, but Paul probably taught some of it to McGee. That's how it worked. You could see that happening three and four years ago. That's how close the two brothers are with what happens on the field."
I won't ever forget talking to Bob Petrino Sr. about the abilities to coach that each of his two sons possess. He may have said it best when he noted, "I think they both really know how to develop quarterbacks and offense."
There is no risk in this move. It's like putting on an old baseball glove. It just feels right.
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