Bobby Petrino is nationally known for his ability to put together an elite offense. But who knew what kind of elite coaching staff he could put together? This article will take a look at the coaching changes for the upcoming 2010 season and highlight where each are from.
The first move was prompted when former OC Paul Petrino decided it was in the best interest for him and his career to leave the safety of his older brother's play calling and develop his resume as the Offensive Coordinator at Illinois. Who could blame him? After all he will be able to call his own plays and will be making more than any OC in the SEC. He received a two-year deal worth $475,000 per year.
Best of luck Paul...at least there will be one offense in the big 10!
Head Coach Bobby Petrino immediately promoted quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee to take over as Offensive Coordinator. Who is Garrick McGee? Glad you asked...before coming to Arkansas, McGee spent the previous four seasons (2004-07) at Northwestern University where he was the receivers and punt return coach his first two seasons, and the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in 2006 and '07. Directing the Wildcat's spread offense; McGee's 2007 unit led the Big Ten and was No. 11 in the nation in passing with 307.9 yards per game, and led the Big Ten and was No. 31 in the country in total offense with (427.7). In 2005, his Northwestern receiving corps had three wideouts ranked in the top 10 on the Big Ten season receptions list for the first time in school history. They became just the second team in Big Ten history to average more than 500 yards per game with 500.3 per contest, which ranked fourth nationally. The Wildcats led the Big Ten with 306.8 yards passing per game, which also ranked seventh in the nation.
There is also that UNLV-Nevada link. McGee was the receivers and kickoff return coach for head coach John Robinson at Nevada-Las Vegas in 2003. In 2001 and 2002, he was an offensive assistant and quality control coach with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars where he worked as an assistant to the quarterbacks coach Bobby Petrino and assisted in all phases of special teams. He also played at Arizona State in 1991 and '92 under Petrino. He is also an excellent recruiter. McGee is from Tulsa, Oklahoma and attended Booker T Washington high school. This year alone he was able to get top talent from Oklahoma. Current Booker T Washington stand out Calvin Barnett made the biggest splash as he was set to highlight the class of 2010 for OKST, but instead signed with the Razorbacks. His teammate Erick Bennet joined him. McGee was responsible for signing 5 recruits ranked in the top 25 in the state of Oklahoma. Good hire Bob!
Former Offensive Line coach Mike Summers spent plenty of time with Coach Petrino. He worked for him all four years at Louisville, followed him to Atlanta, and coached 2 years at Arkansas. Mike has strong roots in Kentucky and followed those roots to become the OL coach under Joker Phillips at UK. He and his wife Kathy have a daughter, Amy, who is a Louisville graduate. Kathy is the daughter of legendary Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall. We understand your reasons and Good Luck Mike...stir up the east!
Filling those shoes is perhaps the best hire of all time. Everyone familiar with Razorback football knows that we have not been able to effectively run the football although we have a talented stable of RBs to do so. Insert coach Chris Klenakis who has 19 years of Division I experience and comes to Arkansas from Nevada where he was at the helm of the "Pistol" offense that had prolific production and a powerful running game led by the offensive line for the last six seasons. In 2008, the Wolf Pack offense steamrolled over opposing defenses to the tune of a number of school records including total offense, most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. In 2009, Klenakis and the offense eclipsed all those marks and the Wolf Pack had the number one ranked rushing offense in the nation, averaging 344.9 yards per game. Nevada also became the first team in NCAA history to have three players rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season. In addition, the Wolf Pack ranked second nationally in total offense (505.6) and sixth in scoring (38.2). From 1990-99, Klenakis was an assistant coach at Nevada, serving as offensive coordinator from 1997-99. Bobby Petrino was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Nevada in 1994.
Klenakis is the Godfather of the Pistol formation and has refined it over the past 7 years as the offensive coordinator at Nevada. Fourteen offensive linemen coached by Klenakis have gone on to the NFL. You can find his instructional DVDs for running the pistol formation which highlights the power run and zone reads here (http://www.championshipproductions.com/cgi-bin/champ/auth/2321/Chris-Klenakis.html).
Gone is former DE's coach Kirk Botkin. Just two days after the Liberty bowl he was told that his services would not be retained for the 2010 season. The school's statement said Botkin "has resigned to pursue other career opportunities." He had coached under Petrino for only the two years at Arkansas.
His replacement is Steve Caldwell, former DL coach under Phil Fulmer. Caldwell spent 14 seasons at Tennessee. In 2008, the unit ranked first in the league and tied for third nationally in total defense allowing 263.5 yards per game. Caldwell is another coach from this area. He was born just across the Arkansas-Missouri state line in Thayer, Mo. Caldwell played four years of football for the Arkansas State Indians as a defensive end and linebacker. He too coached at Nevada as co-defensive coordinator for the 1994 Big West Conference champions. He will be concentrating on developing our DE's.
With the promotion of McGee to Offensive Coordinator it left Coach Petrino with one more coaching spot to fill. He did that with Kris Cinkovich who will replace Paul Petrino and concentrate on coaching WRs. Cinkovich spent the last six seasons at UNLV where he helped build the wide receivers unit into one of the strongest units in the nation. He played and coached at Carroll college in Helena, Montana. While at Carroll, he was on an offensive line that blocked for Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, who played quarterback from 1979-82.
Several things jumped out at me while researching the current staff at Arkansas. One was the overwhelming offensive statistics. Our head coach, Offensive Coordinator, and Offensive line coach have shown the ability to put up eye popping offensive numbers.
The other thing that jumps out at me are the common stops that each of them have made. Many of them played with and for Petrino at Carroll College in Helena, MT. BP's father coached that team and is where Bobby gets many of his ideologies. BP was the QB coach at Arizona State in '92-'93 where he coached Garrick McGee. The two also worked together while coaching for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The other major link is Nevada. In 1994 Petrino was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Nevada. Also on staff were Klenakis and Caldwell. McGee also coached at UNLV in 2003 where he worked closely with current WRs coach Kris Cinkovich.
With this coaching staff it seems that Coach Bobby Petrino has assembled his ideal offensive team. Every one of them have worked closely with him in the past and are familiar with his philosophies. They have all carried the same standards of excellence and have produced astonishingly good offenses.
Add this coaching staff to the current pool of talented Razorbacks and you not only have the recipe for this years success...you have an ideal situation to develop a nationally competitive program for many years to come.