Illinois head coach Ron Zook introduced newly hired offensive coordinator Paul Petrino at a Monday press conference. Petrino comes from the University of Arkansas, where he held the same position, leading a Razorbacks offense that ranked eighth in the nation in scoring.
“I think there’s nothing but improvement to be made on the offensive side of the ball,” Petrino said. “I’ve been here all morning watching the talent, and I’m very excited.”
Petrino replaces Mike Schultz, who was relieved of his duties as Illinois’ offensive coordinator on Friday. In his first year with the program, Schultz and the Illini offense stalled early on before averaging 35.4 points per game in the season’s last five contests.
Petrino will bring with him a pass-heavy pro-style offense different than the option-spread that Illinois has used since Zook took over the program in 2005.
“If you had to watch a pro football team and say who our offense is similar to, it’d be the (New York) Giants,” Petrino said. “I would definitely say it’s a pro-style offense. The tight end will be really involved.”
Petrino said the offense will feature more multiple personnel sets and formations, with more two-back packages with the quarterback under center as opposed to the shotgun-heavy offense Illinois has run. Petrino also introduced a personal philosophy of relying heavily on his playmakers, which he calls “FTS.”
“One of the things that we believe in is FTS, and that stands for ‘feed the studs,’” Petrino said. “We’re going to get our best players in position to go make plays.”