Illinois Football: Paul Petrino Jumps Back to Arkansas

Jeffrey BatheContributor IIIDecember 6, 2011

ATLANTA - 2007:  Paul Petrino of the Atlanta Falcons poses for his 2007 NFL headshot at photo day in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Getty Images)
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The changes are continuing for the Illini as offensive coordinator Paul Petrino has left the staff to return to Arkansas. Petrino came to Illinois after the 2009 season from the Razorbacks, where he served as the offensive coordinator. 

Upon arriving at Illinois, the team saw success, as the offense broke school records for total points (423) and points per game (32.54) in 2010. The offense was clicking as they averaged just over 42 points the second half of the season and out-shined 2011 Heisman finalist Robert Griffin III.

This season started well, but the Illini struggled with both the passing and running game during the last six games, dropping 59 yards a game and 120 less yards rushing.

This will be a reunion with his brother Bobby, who led Arkansas to a 10-2 season and a No.6 BCS ranking. Petrino has worked with his brother at Louisville (2003-06) and the Atlanta Falcons (2007) prior to joining him with the Razorbacks.

As the Illini prepare for Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, quarterback coach Jeff Brohm will assume the offensive coordinator duties. This could be the first of many changes for the Illini staff leading up to the December 31st bowl game.

Chicago Tribune's Shannon Ryan reported that interim coach Vic Koenning said he has made no guarantee that he or any of the assistants will be with the Illini by game time. He said that he is actively seeking a new position and has encouraged the rest of the staff to do the same. 

It seems that "Go Illini" may be mean a little something else in the next couple weeks.

Time will tell.

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