Texas A&M hires Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator

Texas A&M hires Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator

  • Sports
  • January 5, 2023
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Jimbo Fisher is bringing in former Arkansas and Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino, one of the most respected offensive heads in football, as offensive coordinator from Texas A&M, sources told ESPN.

Fisher has always called his own games on offense and is one of the few head coaches to do so, and while he will still be heavily involved in the Aggies’ offense, sources told ESPN that Petrino will handle primary playcalling duties.

Fisher just wrapped up his fifth season at Texas A&M, a season that saw the Aggies go 5-7 and miss a bowl game for the first time since 2008.

Petrino was last at UNLV less than a month after accepting the job of offensive coordinator under new head coach Barry Odom on December 15. Petrino has spent the last three seasons as Missouri State head coach and led the Bears to FCS playoff appearances two of his three seasons. At the time of Petrino’s arrival, Missouri State had gone 30 years without making a playoff appearance.

Fisher said after the Aggies’ disappointing 2022 season, marred by injuries and offfield troubles, that he was open to giving up playcalling duties and hiring a savvy offensive coordinator to come in and call plays, which would free Fisher up stronger in all facets of the program are involved. Fisher and Petrino had talks for Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator position in early December, but nothing materialized. Later in the month after Odom was hired, Petrino took over the job at UNLV.

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Petrino told Odom Wednesday that he was heading to Texas A&M, according to sources, and an official announcement from Texas A&M is expected soon.

It’s not uncommon for Fisher to take his time and wait until January to hire a coordinator. He hired his last two defensive coordinators (DJ Durkin and Mike Elko) after the New Year. For the job, Fisher also spoke to TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, among others, sources told ESPN.

Petrino, 61, has extensive experience as a head coach and has achieved success in all his collegiate stints. He coached a Heisman Trophy winner with Lamar Jackson in Louisville, made Arkansas and Louisville national prominence for the first time in years, and has won 65.8% of his games as a collegiate head coach.

But he’s also faced controversy, most notably in Arkansas, where he was fired in April 2012 after school officials said he lied about a motorcycle accident while riding with a female soccer employee Petrino had hired, with whom he was having an affair had . The Hogs won 11 games last season, including a Cotton Bowl win, and ranked No. 5 in the most recent AP poll. They won 10 games and played in the Sugar Bowl in 2010.

“Unfortunately, I’ll always have to carry that with me, how it ended up there,” Petrino told ESPN last summer. “I’ve hurt a lot of people and let a lot of people down.”

Petrino’s SEC experience was particularly appealing to Fisher, whose Aggies plummeted to 101st nationally and second-bottom in the league last season in terms of attacking (22.8 points per game). In Arkansas, Petrino’s offenses ranked second in the SEC in 2010 (36.5 points per game) and first in 2011 (36.8 points per game), at a time when defense ruled the SEC. In 2011, seven of the top 30 goalscorers nationally belonged to SEC teams. Like Fisher, Petrino has also called his own plays as head coach.

He also coached the Atlanta Falcons for part of the 2007 season before taking the job at Arkansas with three games remaining in the season. The Falcons were 3-10 at the time of Petrino’s abrupt departure. Overall, if you count some promotions, this will be Petrino’s 19th coaching job.

Petrino inherits an offense from Texas A&M, which only twice surpassed 24 points against FBS competition last season. Conner Weigman is returning as quarterback after starting the final three games of 2022 as a true freshman. Receiver Evan Stewart, also a true rookie, returns after leading the team in receiving. The Aggies are also hoping to get back several offensive linemen who suffered season-ending injuries in 2022.

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