New Illinois staff to have Cardinal shade

Remember the dynamic Louisville offense from the middle part of the decade?

Illinois head coach Ron Zook hopes to recreate it.

Zook is hiring three former Louisville assistants to handle Illinois' offense in a make-or-break 2010 season.

Paul Petrino, most recently the offensive coordinator at Arkansas, takes the same job in Champaign. Petrino served as offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Louisville from 2003-06 before following his older brother Bobby to the Atlanta Falcons and then to Arkansas. Though the move from Arkansas to Illinois might seem a bit odd, Paul Petrino now will get to call his own plays (Bobby handled the Razorbacks' play-calling duties).

Greg Nord, who spent the past 15 years on Louisville's coaching staff, heads to Illinois to coach tight ends. And Jeff Brohm, the former Louisville offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach who most recently held the same titles at Florida Atlantic, will coach QBs for Illinois, according to colleague Bruce Feldman.

Zook has acted extremely quickly since Friday, when he dismissed four assistants, including offensive coordinator Mike Schultz, and demoted co-defensive coordinators Dan Disch and Curt Mallory. The embattled coach clearly had a replacement plan before announcing the changes. He still has to find a defensive coordinator, with former Kansas assistant Bill Miller a possible candidate.

All three incoming assistants -- Petrino, Nord and Brohm -- were part of Louisville's heyday.

In case you've forgotten -- it feels like eons ago for U of L fans -- the Cardinals lit up the sky and the scoreboard from 2003-07. Louisville's offense ranked in the top 10 nationally in all five seasons, leading the nation in 2004 (539 ypg) and ranking second in 2006 (475.3 ypg).