HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- After helping build Marshall's offense into a 6,000-yard offensive machine, Tony Petersen will now conspire to pressure the Thundering Herd's defense.Petersen has accepted the offensive coordinator position on Skip Holtz's new staff at Louisiana Tech, a Marshall source confirmed Tuesday. The Bulldogs are heading to Conference USA next season and are widely expected to play in Marshall's division in 2013.Holtz has not announced the move yet, though he has announced the hiring of Tim Rattay, the former Lousiana Tech quarterback who is near the top of many NCAA statistical categories. A pairing of Petersen and Rattay would signal that Holtz, more known for his cultivation of defenses at his more successful stops, is encouraging a shoot-'em-up offensive style.That's what Petersen, quarterbacks coach and co-coordinator with Bill Legg, helped create this season at Marshall. The Herd shook off several years of offensive stagnation by compiling 6,411 yards and scoring 491 points over 12 games. A rapid-fire tempo allowed the Herd to average more than 90 scrimmage plays a game.
Unfortunately for the Herd, that produced no better than a 5-7 record, as opposing offenses racked up even bigger numbers against a porous defense.C-USA is undergoing another realignment for the 2013 season with the exit of Houston, Southern Methodist, Central Florida and Memphis. Incoming football programs ready to play immediately are Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas and Texas-San Antonio.
FIU and Louisiana Tech are logical choices to join the East Division, replacing UCF and Memphis, but the league has not officially determined that yet. Assistant commissioner Courtney Morrison-Archer said as much Tuesday, but noted that athletic directors will have to do that in the next few weeks in order to construct a schedule.Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee are expected to come on board in 2014, though there has been discussion of those two schools leaving the Sun Belt a year early. North Carolina-Charlotte and Old Dominion are entering C-USA next season but will not be C-USA-ready in football until 2015.Holtz led another of the Herd's division rivals, East Carolina, to two Conference USA championships before moving on to South Florida. He was fired after three seasons in Tampa after going 16-21 overall, 5-16 in Big East play.Marshall coach Doc Holliday now has two coaching positions to fill, with the other one being defensive coordinator.Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsmock@ wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.