Next UT coach: Chris Petersen?

Given the importance of quality quarterback play, Tennessee might want to consider a bona-fide quarterback guru for its head coaching vacancy.

Should that be the case, Chris Petersen could be at the top of the Vols' shopping list. What he has accomplished with Boise State's quarterbacks in recent years is downright amazing.

As offensive coordinator (2001-2005) and head coach (2006-present), Petersen turned Ryan Dinwiddie and Jared Zabransky into statistical marvels. Dinwiddie went 28-6 as the Broncos' No. 1 QB from 2001-03, finishing his career as the NCAA's career leader in pass efficiency with a 168.19 rating. His 188.18 mark in 2002 would have set the NCAA single-season record if he had played in one more game.

Zabransky assumed the QB reins from 2004-2006 and guided Boise to a 32-5 record, three consecutive Western Athletic Conference titles and two undefeated regular seasons.

This year's Bronco quarterback, freshman Kellen Moore, ranks No. 13 nationally in passer efficiency (160.3) and passing yards per game (277.36). He has thrown for 3,051 yards, completing 69.74 percent of his passes, with 23 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. He isn't running a dink-and-dunk offense, either. Moore is averaging a hefty 12.61 yards per completion.

As a team, Boise ranks No. 10 nationally in passing yards (298.3 per game), No. 14 in total offense (453.36 yards per game) and No. 15 in scoring offense (37.45 points per game). Even in an offensive-minded league such as the Western Athletic Conference, those are imposing numbers.

Petersen's success at molding potent passing attacks is no recent development. As quarterback coach at Pittsburgh in 1992 he helped the Panthers break the school record for passing yards en route to ranking eighth nationally in total offense and passing. He also helped Alex Van Pelt earn first-team All-Big East honors on his way to eclipsing the school's passing yardage totals previously held by Dan Marino.

After a couple of years at Div. II Portland State, Petersen spent six years as receivers coach at Oregon (1995-2000), where he helped the Ducks break the school's single-season record for passing yards twice and the single-season touchdown record three times.

Peterson, 44, gained his knowledge of quarterback play through first-hand experience. A second-team NCAA Div. II All-America quarterback at Cal-Davis in the mid 1980s, he still holds the Div. II record for career completion percentage at 69.6.

Although recognized for their imaginative and productive offenses, Peterson's Boise teams have been stout defensively, as well. His 2006 team led the Western Athletic Conference in rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, scoring defense and total defense. His 2008 team ranks No. 2 nationally in pass efficiency defense, No. 5 in scoring defense (12.5 points per game), No. 20 in rushing defense (106.9 yards per game) and No. 16 in total defense (294.55 yards per game).

Three years into his head coaching career Petersen is one of the rising stars in the profession. He was tabbed Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year as a rookie head man after guiding the 2006 Broncos to a 13-0 mark that included a 43-42 overtime upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. After going 10-3 in 2007, he has Boise State cruising along with an 11-0 record and a No. 9 national ranking in 2008.

With a 34-3 record and a reputation as a quarterback guru, Chris Petersen just might be the cure for what's ailing the Vols.


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