Football hires O-coordinator during winter break

Joe Fleming

The Sacramento State football team added a new spark on offense this month and head coach Marshall Sperbeck said he will bring “energy” to the Hornets next season.

Sperbeck named Paul Peterson as the team’s new offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.

“We needed somebody to give us some new energy on the offensive side of the ball,” Sperbeck said.

Peterson previously coached the quarterbacks and wide receivers along with being the passing coordinator at new conference foe Southern Utah University, and has now found his new home at Sac State.

The opportunity was well-received by Peterson, who said he is excited to be working with Sperbeck.

“The biggest thing for me was that Coach Sperbeck has had 20-plus years as being a head coach and coordinating experience,” Peterson said. “I’ve been looking forward to working with him and getting insights from him to develop myself.”

Peterson is not without his own accolades as a college player. He played quarterback for Boston College, while earning a business degree, where he won two bowl games, earned team Most Valuable Player in 2004 and MVP of the Continental Tire Bowl. He also achieved the Boston College Person of the Year award in 2005.

After a successful college career, Peterson took his talents to the professional ranks where he played a short stint for the Ottawa Renegades of the Canadian Football League.

After being cut before the start of the Renegades 2005 season, he turned his attention off the field and onto the sidelines. Peterson’s first coaching job began at Brigham Young University as an offensive graduate assistant.

After another short period at University of North Carolina as the defensive graduate assistant, he established himself at Southern Utah.

His four years at Southern Utah have been well-documented for his roll in developing solid quarterbacks and wide receivers. Two of which, quarterback Brad Sorensen and wide receiver Tysson Poots, received Great West Conference MVPs for their play.

Now at Sac State, Peterson plans to use his experiences as a player and a coach to lead the Hornets into victory.

“As a player, I understand the position of quarterback and to be able to teach it can help, Especially with the younger guys we have in the program with little or no experience to get them to understand the game a little bit better,” Peterson said.

He said quarterback development will be important because the offense will work through them.

“The offense will be quick and up-tempo and really, really quarterback friendly,” he said.

Hornet quarterback Garrett Safron said the players are excited to have Peterson on the team.

“The team thinks this is a great move on our part and they are just as excited as I am to see what he is going to bring to the table,” Safron said. “We’re all very excited about the decision to bring in an offensive coordinator.”

Peterson’s track record coaching quarterbacks has Safron motivated to learn.

“Reading defenses and understanding how to manage a football game and be successful throughout the game,” are some of the things Safron said he expects to learn from the new coach.

When asked whether fans can expect a pass-heavy offense or run-heavy, Peterson said the most important thing was getting the ball to the right players.

“(The offense) is something that Coach Sperbeck obviously will have a big say in,” he said. “What (Sperbeck) sees is the best fit for the program, whether that’s pass-heavy or run-heavy or 50/50 that hasn’t been decided yet. Coming in as offensive coordinator, I’m going to find ways to get playmakers the ball.”

Peterson said he plans on seeing the Hornets in high places in the future and his experience within the conference may payoff.

“To get to the playoffs and win a conference championship, those are all goals that are foreseeable in the near future,” he said. “There’s no question we’re going to be able to compete with those teams.”

Peterson said this is not a pit stop for his coaching career, but a place he would like to be for a long time.

“I plan on staying here for as long as Coach Sperbeck will have me,” Peterson said. “And try and instill the things that I can do to make this team better.”

Joe Fleming can be reached at sports@statehornet.com.