Report: Illinois football offensive coordinator Tony Petersen fired after one season in Champaign

Tony+Petersen+works+with+the+Illini+quarterbacks+during+summer+training+camp.+Petersen+was+fired+as+offensive+coordinator+by+the+Illini+after+one+year+in+Champaign.

Photo Courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

Tony Petersen works with the Illini quarterbacks during summer training camp. Petersen was fired as offensive coordinator by the Illini after one year in Champaign.

By Wes Hollenberg, Staff Writer

Illinois football fired offensive coordinator Tony Petersen, according to a report from 247Sports on Tuesday night. Petersen had just completed his first season as OC for the Illini and was under contract for two more. 

Overall, the Illini offense remained one of the weaker units across the Big Ten in 2021, ranking 11th in overall points per game at 20.2. Most concerning of all, however, was that the Illini showed virtually no improvement from 2020 in which Illinois averaged a virtually identical 20.1 points per game. 

That being said, Illinois did harbor a strong ground game behind Chase Brown’s first 1000-yard season and a few promising performances from true freshman Josh McCray. The major weak point of the offense was undoubtedly the passing game, which ranked dead last in the Big Ten at 156.2 yards per game.

Illinois didn’t exactly have a breadth of playmakers to begin with, and next season may prove even more difficult with the transfer of deep threat Deuce Spann and the graduation of QB1 Brandon Peters. Regardless, it looks like head coach Bret Bielema and the Illini decided to go in a different direction after just one season. Bielema has made it clear from day one he intends to turn the Illini into a winning program. With a move like this, he’s made it clear he’s also not afraid to make bold decisions. 

 

@WesHollenberg

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