Gophers’ offensive coordinator resigns

New starters at quarterback and running back won’t be the only changes to the offense of the Gophers football team next season. The leading offensive man on the sidelines will be a new face as well.
Following offensive coordinator Steve Loney’s resignation Thursday, the Pioneer Press reported that head coach Glen Mason is expected to give quarterbacks coach Tony Petersen the duties of running the offense.
The Pioneer Press also reported that Petersen, not Loney, had been the one calling the offensive plays for the Gophers throughout the 1999 season.
That would lead some to believe that Loney, who also coached the offensive line, left Minnesota because of his reduced role in the offensive game plan.
But Loney denied those rumors, saying he left the Gophers to move back home to be with his family in Ames, Iowa.
Loney will take over the offensive coordinator job at Iowa State — a position he held prior to taking the job at Minnesota two seasons ago.
“If you look at the pluses and minuses, it’s a lateral move,” Loney told the Pioneer Press. “I’m leaving as an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator and going to be an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. But family-wise, it’s a slam dunk that you’ve got to go back to Iowa State.”
Petersen, Loney’s replacement, came to Minnesota prior to the 1999 season. He will become Minnesota’s third offensive coordinator under Mason.
In 1998, Petersen was the offensive coordinator at Marshall. His play calling helped lead the Thundering Herd to a victory in the Motor City Bowl.
Mason is expected to make his decision official today. Mason says the new coordinator must use the current offensive system, and Petersen fits that requirement.
“We’re not going to change our offense,” Mason said. “If it’s broke, fix it. We’re not broke.”

John R. Carter welcomes comments at [email protected]ily.umn.edu.