Offensive line coach Luke Butkus headed to Green Bay Packers
February 7, 2019
The Illinois football coaching staff “shakeup” continued Thursday as offensive line coach Luke Butkus jumped to the NFL.
Butkus, who served as the Illini offensive line coach for the last three seasons as well as one previous season in 2012, is set to become an assistant offensive line coach with the Green Bay Packers. The move surprised more than a few people over social media, given his uncle, Dick, is regarded as one of the greatest Illini and Chicago Bears to every play, but nonetheless, Butkus will be on the Packer sideline in 2019.
Butkus’ connection to Illinois clearly runs deep.
His uncle played at Illinois from 1962-64 and Butkus himself was a three-year starter at Illinois. As a center, he was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and was a captain on the Illinois team that won the Big Ten and played in the 2002 Sugar Bowl.
After a brief professional career, Butkus held various offensive line coaching positions at Oregon in the college ranks, as well as the Bears, Seattle Seahawks and Jacksonville Jaguars.
This season under Butkus’ leadership, the offensive line, which was an extremely young unit outside of senior Nick Allegretti, paved the way for the Illini to average 243 yards rushing per game. That performance was good enough to elevate Illinois to the eighth total rushing attack in the entire country. Running back Reggie Corbin had a breakout season in 2018 and was constantly praising the line for helping him succeed. Corbin ran for 1,085 yards and nine touchdowns over the course of the season.
For Green Bay, 2018 saw the emergence of Aaron Jones as a legitimate three-down star in the backfield and with QB Aaron Rodgers entrenched under center for the long haul, Butkus will be coaching a line with two valuable commodities to protect. The Packers gave up the third most sacks in the NFL, with 53 in 2018, but will be hoping Butkus can help turn their unit around to have similar success to the kind Illinois had in his final year.