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Texas A&M Hires Bobby Petrino as OC

Sports

Bobby Petrino | Image by Andy Altenburger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Texas A&M will hire former Arkansas and Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino as its next offensive coordinator.

Petrino will replace fired offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey on head coach Jimbo Fisher’s staff. He departs for College Station just 20 days after he was named UNLV’s offensive coordinator under new coach Barry Odom.

Fisher has always been the primary offensive play caller for his teams but was one of the few head coaches that still did so.

Though Fisher will still be heavily involved in the Aggies’ offense, Petrino will take over primary playcalling duties, according to ESPN.

Fisher needed someone else to call plays on offense. Texas A&M averaged 22.8 points per game (101st out of 131 FBS teams) and scored more than 24 points only twice against FBS competition in 2022.

The sluggish offense was a top reason the Aggies went 5-7 and missed a bowl game for the first time since 2008. Injuries and issues off the field also marred the A&M football team.

Fisher said following the disappointing 2022 season that he was open to giving up play-calling duties and hiring an experienced offensive coordinator to call plays, allowing Fisher to be more involved in all areas of the program.

Petrino and Fisher discussed the Texas A&M offensive coordinator position in early December, but nothing materialized. Petrino then took the UNLV job later in the month.

Fisher also had discussions with TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, sources told ESPN.

Petrino, 61, certainly brings Fisher’s desired amount of experience. He has had an eventful, well-traveled coaching career and has won 65.8% of his games as a college head coach.

He earned a reputation as an offensive genius in his first stint as Louisville’s head coach from 2003-06. Petrino brought the Louisville football program to great heights — including a No.5 final ranking in 2006 — before he bolted for the NFL, taking the Atlanta Falcons’ job in 2007.

His time in Atlanta was disastrous and short-lived. The Falcons were off to a 3–10 start when Petrino suddenly left with three games remaining in his first season to accept the head coaching position at Arkansas.

His time at Arkansas from 2008-2011 featured great on-field success, with back-to-back 10-win seasons, including an 11-win season, Cotton Bowl victory, and No.5 final AP ranking in 2011.

But Petrino’s time at Arkansas ended in a swirl of controversy.

Arkansas fired Petrino in April 2012 after school officials claimed he misled the university about a motorcycle accident while riding with a female football staffer whom Petrino had hired and with whom he was having an affair.

Petrino revived his career with a one-year stopover at Western Kentucky in 2013, where he went 8-4.

He returned to Louisville for a second stint in 2014, coaching quarterback Lamar Jackson to the Heisman Trophy in 2016.

However, he could not recreate that year’s magic in Louisville, and Petrino was fired in November 2018 after posting a 2-8 record.

Petrino reemerged again as the head coach at FCS Missouri State from 2020-22

He guided Missouri State to FCS playoff appearances in two of his three seasons. Before Petrino’s arrival, Missouri State had gone 30 years without a playoff appearance.

Petrino’s next task will be to turn around a Texas A&M offense that returns quarterback Conner Weigman, who started the last three games in 2022 as a true freshman. Receiver Evan Stewart returns after leading the team in receiving as a true freshman.

The Aggies will also get back several offensive linemen who suffered season-ending injuries in 2022.

Petrino joins a Texas A&M staff with other coaches with checkered off-field records in defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and offensive line coach Steve Addazio.

Durkin was fired as Maryland head coach in 2020 after 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair died from heatstroke during an offseason workout. Additionally, an investigation found that Addazio “likely” made a racist comment to a custodian in October 2020 while he was the head coach at Colorado State.

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