James Franklin introduced Joe Moorhead as the new offensive coordinator at Penn State on Tuesday. Moorhead discussed a range of topics, from his offensive philosophy to his years as a high school prospect.
Franklin and Moorhead thanked the media for showing up and expressed enthusiasm in beginning a new chapter in Penn State football. They are both looking forward to meeting with players and evaluating the offense.
James Franklin: I am excited. [Coach Moorhead and I] have probably had about 40 conversations over the last couple of weeks to come to this decision. I think both of us are very comfortable in terms of philosophy, on how we want to offense to go and on what we are doing at Penn State. We are fired up about Joe and his family joining our Penn State family.
Joe Moorhead: I am very thrilled to be here at Penn State. This is a tremendous opportunity for myself and my family, both professionally and personally. I am coming back close to home, and will be able to contribute to a tradition rich program and help Coach [James] Franklin and Penn State achieve their goals. I am incredibly thankful to Coach Franklin and Sandy Barbour for giving me this opportunity and I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.
To start off, Moorhead discussed some of the influences that have shaped his offense over the years, starting with his time at Pitt as a GA on defense with Walt Harris. During his time with Harris, he used the concepts of the west coast offense to mold his philosophy on the run and pass game. After a stint with Georgetown, he went to Akron, where he finally got a shot at being an OC and started to put his current system in place. Moorhead notes that having that experience on the defensive side of the ball helped him tremendously in his ability to develop a successful offense.
The one person I didn't talk about comes from my time as a defensive graduate assistant when I was at Pitt, and that is Larry Coyer. To be on the defensive side of the ball for a year was invaluable and really helped develop me as an offensive coach.
As we've discussed in previous posts, Moorhead's scheme is focused on dictating the tempo and finding ways to exploit defenses based on matchups, which change on a weekly basis. Like Franklin, he believes simply scoring one more point than the defense allows, so efficiency is more important than style points. Franklin also pointed out that the offensive scheme is something he's planning to implement after the bowl game. He wants Moorhead to meet with his players and evaluate them first before blindly putting in a package that may or may not work.
Moorhead: I will defer that to Coach Franklin, but I will have no role in the game planning process. For me, it is about sitting down and meeting the players, getting out to practice and observing the talent, but nothing more than that. It is not fair to the team right now for me to do much more, having not been here all year and not having much knowledge of the personnel.
Franklin: The way we have it organized is that Coach Moorhead will set up meetings with each returning offensive player so that he can sit down and spend some time with each one of them. This will be dedicated time to get to know them, discuss the offense and talk to them about the direction that we will be going. He will also be out at practice watching and working on getting things ready for the offensive instillation, so that the day after the bowl game we are able to get moving on the implementation of the playbook as we head towards spring practice.
Franklin also spoke about the difficulty in letting one of his longtime assistants go*, and how he was able to make the decision to hire Moorhead. The process of hiring a coordinator to Franklin is different from that of a position coach, so Franklin focuses more on the overall picture.
As far as the second part of your question, I think you all know my personality now. I am a very loyal guy when it comes to my staff. We are all really close, so [letting go of John] was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. I have so much respect for John and his family and what we were able to achieve together. So, that was not an easy thing for me. I am still working through it to be honest with you.
At the end of the day, you take all of those guys on the list and you run all of that date. You look at third down percentage, scoring offense, red zone and every other piece of information you can get and you look at who is consistently at the top of each of those categories. Joe kept jumping out in almost every single category and I was very impressed.
*This was kind of a weird question, since it put Franklin in the awkward position of justifying the firing of the old guy while in the process of introducing the new guy. You could tell by Franklin's facial expression that he was not enjoying having to give this answer.
That does it for today. Check out the full transcript and video below: