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Marshall football: Petersen leaving for Louisiana Tech

HUNTINGTON - Both under center as a quarterback and as a member of the coaching staff, Tony Petersen helped engineer some explosive offenses at Marshall University. Now he'll do it at Louisiana Tech.

According to sources, Petersen, the Thundering Herd's co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, is leaving to become the offensive coordinator for new Louisiana Tech Coach Skip Holtz. Holtz took that job in December after being fired from the University of South Florida after three seasons.

Petersen held the co-offensive coordinator title at Marshall, but offensive coordinator Bill Legg handled playcalling duties.

Marshall's defensive coordinator position remains open, as former coordinator Chris Rippon resigned the day after the Herd's season-ending loss at East Carolina.

Louisiana Tech did not announce any news about its offensive coordinator job Tuesday.

Petersen returned to the Herd in January 2010 as assistant head coach, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2012, Marshall was sixth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total offense (534.25 yards per game) and first in passing offense (365.08 ypg). Quarterback Rakeem Cato was named Conference USA's most valuable player after leading the FBS in passing yards per game (350.08) and completions per game (38.83).

"It's easy knowing I don't have a quarterback coach that played somewhere else or didn't play football at all," Cato said earlier this season. "My quarterback coach played here at Marshall and he knows what it takes to win. He played so great at this level and also had the opportunity to play at the next level."

Petersen spent from 1991-98 as receivers coach, then quarterbacks coach, then as offensive coordinator in 1998. He then had stints as an assistant at Minnesota (1999-2006), Iowa State (2007-08) and South Dakota (2009) before returning to Marshall.

As a Herd quarterback, Petersen was named the 1987 Southern Conference offensive player of the year and the 1988 conference athlete of the year. He owns MU's single-season record for passing yards with 4,902.

The Bulldogs had one of the few offenses more prolific than Marshall's in 2012. Louisiana Tech was first in the FBS in total offense (577.92 yards per game) and first in scoring offense (51.5 points per game), while third in passing offense (350.75 yards per game). The architect of that offense, Head Coach Sonny Dykes, recently took the University of California head coaching job.

Holtz's offense at South Florida wasn't at the same level. The Bulls were 89th in total offense (367.5 yards per game) and 104th in scoring offense (20.58 points per game).

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at or 304-348-1712. His blog is at Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.


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