Penn State Football’s Newest Faces
The Penn State football coaching staff will take on a new look in 2016, with our first look at some new faces coming this Saturday for the Blue-White scrimmage.
The first departure, which was universally celebrated, occurred on Nov. 29, 2015 when offensive coordinator John Donovan was let go. Christian Hackenberg and the offense had a down year, thus prompting the move away from Donovan.
Penn State found their replacement quickly, one month later with Joe Moorhead of Fordham being introduced as the new offensive coordinator. Moorhead’s offense is based on speed and is read heavy, relying on a quarterback to make quick decisions. The spring game will be Moorhead’s chance to show fans that the offense will be an improvement over the one that ranked 101st in points a year ago.
The former Fordham coach helped to turn around a program that had only won one game prior to his hiring, to eventually winning a Patriot League title in 2014. The Rams were also one of the top offenses in the FCS, including ranking ninth in scoring offense a year ago.
Prior to his time at Fordham, Moorhead was in the FBS as the offensive coordinator at Connecticut. That team earned a berth to the Fiesta Bowl in 2011, with running back Jordan Todman leading the team on offense. Knowing a Moorhead offense is favorable for backs will help fans feel more confident about the new coordinator when he is inheriting Saquon Barkley.
Offensive coordinator is not the only big offensive coaching change after former offensive line coach Herb Hand left for the same job at Auburn. Hand will be replaced this season by Pittsburgh native Matt Limegrover.
Limegrover comes over with a familiarity in the Big Ten having spent the last five seasons at Minnesota. He is yet another guy who helped his former school build a strong run attack, with Minnesota’s growth capping at 28th in rushing nationally in 2014. The University of Chicago alum also helped Minnesota offensive lineman Zac Epping earn first team all-conference honors in 2014, the first time a Gopher had done that since 2005.
Before following former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill to Minnesota, Limegrover was a part of his staffs in Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Emporia State as well. At Northern Illinois and Southern Illinois, Limegrover produced a total of nine all-conference selections for those respective conferences. Limegrover looks to produce some more all-conference players at Penn State and protect whoever is under center, something that was difficult a year ago, with fans consistently seeing Hackenberg on his back.
Other assistants will take new jobs across three position groups, but one familiar face will move into a new role. With former defensive coordinator Bob Shoop departing for Tennessee, former co-defensive coordinator Brent Pry was promoted to defensive coordinator.
Pry in his last four seasons has assisted in leading four top 25 defenses and has had a relationship with James Franklin since Franklin was quarterback at East Stroudsburg University. The Altoona native will look to continue what has been longstanding success for the Penn State defense and continue to “Linebacker U” tradition.
Fans were ready for change and Franklin gave it to them. But this now will leave all the blame to fall on Franklin’s shoulders if things go wrong this season. Check back in this Saturday as ComRadio will be covering the entirety of the game.
David Arroyo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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