Illinois hires Rod Smith as offensive coordinator
Illinois has hired former Arizona offensive coordinator to the same position, the program announced Friday.
Smith will also coach quarterbacks, an important note given Illinois just saw two quarterbacks leave the program this week. Chayce Crouch announced he was ending his football career on Tuesday, and Jeff George Jr. announced his transfer only hours before that.
The Illini won’t have a bare cupboard at quarterback next season, as Cam Thomas returns after assuming the starting job late in the season and MJ Rivers has signed with the program and Coran Taylor remains verbally committed to Illinois.
“Rod Smith brings terrific and exciting offensive experience to our staff at Illinois,” Lovie Smith said in a release. “His background and development of dual-threat quarterbacks and multiple-threat offenses is the direction we are going here. Rod has developed explosive quarterback play and offensive performance at each of his coaching stops.”
Smith served on head coach Rich Rodriguez’s staff for six years at Arizona, all as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Rodriguez was fired last month following a misconduct allegation and pending lawsuit.
Before going to Arizona, Smith coached at Michigan, West Virginia, Indiana and South Florida. He replaces Garrick McGee, who was fired last month after Illinois finished 124th in offensive S&P+ and 127th in points per game out of the 130 teams in FBS.
Illinois also announced the addition of Cory Patterson as tight ends coach.