Illinois hires Arizona’s Rod Smith as offensive coordinator
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois has hired Arizona assistant Rod Smith as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Smith spent six years with the Wildcats and has been a coach for 22 years, focusing on the offensive side of the ball.
He replaces Garrick McGee, who was fired last month after the Illini averaged just 19.7 points and 315.1 yards per game, finishing 2-10 and 0-9 in the Big Ten. Illinois started three different quarterbacks who combined for only eight passing touchdowns and 19 interceptions. The team ended the season last in conference with just 21 total offensive touchdowns.
Last season, Arizona averaged 41.3 points (fifth nationally), 309.3 rushing yards, 180.2 passing yards and 489.5 total yards (12th nationally) per game. Wildcat quarterback Khalil Tate rushed for 1,411 yards (9.2 yards per carry), while completing 62 percent of his passes for 1,591 passing yards with 14 touchdowns.
Smith’s hire is pending approval by the Illinois Board of Trustees. The hire was announced Friday.