Penn State has found the dynamic offensive mind to replace John Donovan: Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead. The hiring was first reported early on Saturday morning by Penn State student Tyler Feldman, and has been corroborated by a number of people, including FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman (no relation, as far as we know).
Moorhead comes by way of Fordham, but for the 42-year-old, this is a homecoming of sorts. He went to high school at Central Catholic in Pittsburgh, giving Franklin another highly-regarded coach whose ties to the talent-rich WPIAL could be beneficial for the Nittany Lions in recruiting.
The reason Moorhead is such a great hire is his approach to coaching on the offensive side of the ball. As he explains in this video, Moorhead likes to teach his players concepts on the offensive side of the ball, things that the team can run out of a bevy of formations. And my goodness, has this been a successful strategy: in 2015, Fordham went 9-3 behind an explosive offense that was ranked ninth in FCS in scoring offense (36.8 points per game), 19th in total offense (453.3 YPG), 20th in passing offense (272.3 YPG), and 42nd in rushing offense (180.9 YPG).
Those numbers, of course, are outstanding, but they aren't quite on the level of Fordham's insane 2013 and 2014 offenses. Here are the same statistics for both of those years:
Points per game: 37.6 (2013), 40.6 (2014)
Total offense: 515.3 (2013), 494.1 (2014)
Passing yards per game: 360.9 (2013), 326.1 (2014)
Rushing yards per game: 154.4 (2013), 168.1 (2014)
These, of course, all look really, really great. But going one step deeper, and you really see how insane this offense was both years. In 2013, the Rams' top rusher ran for 1,561 yards, while his backup ran for 701. Their top three receivers were also otherworldly, going for 1,646 yards, 1,154 yards, and 1,094 yards. It was much of the same in 2014: the top rushers went for 1,902 and 598 yards, and the top receivers went for 1,247 yards, 1,202 yards, and 1,016 yards.
This year's offense took a minor step back, mostly due to a new quarterback and a bunch of new receivers, but when a step back means 37 points and 450+ yards of offense per game, sign me up.
Prior to Fordham, Moorhead was an assistant at Georgetown and Akron from 2000-2003 and 2004-2008, respectively. His big break came in 2009, when he became the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at UConn. In his two years leading the offense with the Huskies, Moorhead had a ton of success, and despite losing the OC position in 2011 when Paul Pasqualoni became the head coach in Storrs.
In 2012, Moorhead took the Fordham job, and the legend of "The Czar" was born. He has a 38-13 record in four years and has won the Patriot League twice. Of the Rams' five postseason appearances, three have come in the last three years under Moorhead.
We'll have a lot more on Penn State's new offensive coordinator in the coming days. For now, welcome to Happy Valley, Joe!