"I've known for the last seven seasons that this is something that would happen at some point," McGee said. "I have been watching this, knowing since Louisville was No. 5 in the country and the top offense, that Paul was a hot coach and would get an opportunity. So I knew this could happen. I'm not just talking the last two weeks, but the last few years.
"We all knew that Paul (Petrino) at some point would move on. We thought it would be a head coaching job. Coach (Bobby Petrino) is a loyal guy and we've had a relationship for a long time. He's been extremely loyal to me for years now. It feels good."
Jokingly, McGee was asked about what he would do with the probable hefty raise from QB coach to offensive coordinator. He responded with a serious answer.
"One thing that is important," he said. "The reason you do the job is important. You coach in college to really have relationships with the kids and see these guys go from 18-year-old kids to 21-year-old men and they are ready to go on with their life. That's why I work in college football (not for the money)."
Where McGee coaches during the bowl game is still being discussed. He was on the sidelines the last two seasons. He said it was possible that's where he'll coach for the bowl.
"We are in the process of talking about it now," McGee said. "I probably will end up on the field with the quarterbacks and that is something that is really important. The way the quarterback performs is important to anyone's offense. You can see more than you think from the sideline when you understand the game plan and know the defensive structure you can see what you need to see from the sideline."
He said the wide receiver candidates have been talked about, but no decision has been made.
"We just plan to get the right guy," McGee said. "We don't want to rush, but we want to get the right guy. A guy that understands the way we go about our business, our philosophy of coaching and our philosophy of offense and that will fit in with our kids. We've got a really good group of wide receivers and need to get a guy who can get the best out of them."
The Hogs have worked three times in the last week, practicing at odd times because of finals. The last of exams were completed Wednesday. That was the reason for the night practice Wednesday. They will work at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
"I think it was pretty good," McGee said of Wednesday's workout, in shoulder pads but without full leg pads.
"We didn't finish the practice the way we wanted to, but I think they had fun. We wanted to get them out there tonight and have a quick, short practice and get ready to get after it in the morning. We are going to have a couple of really good work days coming up. We just wanted to get them back in the groove and get their timing back so they can wake up in the morning and be prepared to work."
McGee was asked about playcalling for the bowl game. However, Bobby Petrino is the chief playcaller, no matter who serves as offensive coordinator -- with help from all members of the offensive staff.
"We put the game plan in together and it is definitely a staff operation," McGee said. "We watch the film together and we design the plays together understanding where we want to attack. We talk about it as a staff. My job will be leadership of the offensive players and getting them to perform at an extreme level on game day and communicating with our head coach. The key is going to be getting guys to perform at a high level."
Quarterback Ryan Mallett said Wednesday's workout wasn't any different with the staff changes.
"I really don't think there was an adjustment period," Mallett said. "We do all the same things. The relationship with (Garrick McGee) is the same. I really didn't see what (Paul Petrino) did with the wide receivers. I worked with Coach McGee on the sidelines and in practice.
"I can tell you what Coach McGee brought to us, a calmness. When everyone else is yelling, he is the one who tells is to calm down and he brings the team together. He brought that to our team."
There wasn't always a calmness to what McGee brought to Mallett. There were times when Mallett first got to Arkansas that McGee had to bring discipline.
"Our (relationship) didn't start out great," Mallett said. "I was immature and that is one of the things he helped me with. He helped me learn some tough lessons. It was after that when I got to know him. I am thankful for what he did for me. He's a great person and I've learned that side of him."
What will losing Paul Petrino mean?
"Anytime you lose a staff member, it hurts," Mallett said. "He did things for me. One of the things I will remember is before every game, the last thing he told me before we left the field when we lined up for field goals, 'Be yourself.' He did that every game, helped me relax."
D. J. Williams met with the media after practice Wednesday. Williams, junior tight end, said McGee met with the entire offense earlier this week.
"(McGee) sat us down and talked to us," Williams said. "They are two different kinds of coaching styles, but the same because they are under Coach (Bobby) Petrino. They have the same goal, to do what's best for us.
"There are no hard feelings. It's a business. None of us knew what was going on, but that's just what football is about. He's a great coach and he'll do great things at Illinois. They are blessed to have Coach Petrino on staff there.
"We have Coach (Sharp) looking over us. He's been helping out with the running backs. Coach Long went to help the wide receivers. Our players are mature enough to handle the change. It won't be an issue at all."
How is McGee different than the last offensive coordinator?
"Coach McGee is more of a cool mode guy," Williams said of the difference between Paul Petrino. "I wouldn't say laid back. He'll get into you when it's needed. It's just hard to explain."