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A More Realistic Option: G.A. Mangus as Penn State's Next Offensive Coordinator

The offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of South Carolina is more of the type Penn State is likely to target to replace John Donovan.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bill started things off yesterday with a profile on Montana head coach Bob Stitt, a coach he wants to be considered for Penn State's vacant offensive coordinator position. Today, we are going to head in the opposite direction: from the pipe dream, walk-off home run, innovative-as-hell hire to the uber-realistic, normal qualification, situationally realistic hire.

George Alford "G.A." Mangus has been the quarterbacks coach for the last seven years (and tight ends coach for the last two years) at the University of South Carolina under Steve Spurrier. Mangus played quarterback for Spurrier when he was the coach at the University of Florida, so their relationship dates back quite a while. As quarterbacks coach for the Gamecocks, Mangus has helped to develop a number of quality quarterbacks including Stephen Garcia, Connor Shaw, and Dylan Thompson.

While Mangus is from the state of Georgia and played football at Florida, he does have some Pennsylvania connections. His first coaching job (after being a graduate assistant at Florida) was at Division III Widener University in the Philadelphia suburb of Chester, where he was the quarterbacks and running backs coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator. After four years there, Mangus went to Division III Ursinus College in Collegeville, where he was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for three years.

From that job, Mangus got the head coaching gig at Division III Delaware Valley University in 2002. He coached there for five seasons, going from 2-8 in his first season to 33-4 over the next three seasons. That turnaround earned him the role of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Middle Tennessee State, his first job at an FBS school since his grad assistant job for the Gators. He was there for three years before Spurrier came calling in 2009.

Having played for and coached under Spurrier, you can infer that Mangus believes in a form of Spurrier's famed fun-n-gun offense. That offensive scheme at South Carolina has never been as effective as it was back in Spurrier's heyday at Florida, but that's not entirely the fault of either Spurrier or Mangus. While there is certainly something to be said for Spurrier's system not being as innovative as it once was, that does not mean that what Mangus has learned from him is ineffective.

Part of the system would embrace things that Donovan did not embrace here. The offensive scheme that Mangus comes from relies on play-actions and draw plays to keep defenses off balance, quarterbacks making audibles based on the defense, and wide receivers having routes with options based on where the defense is playing. The offensive line can rely on misdirection at times (instead of extra blockers) to help keep the quarterback upright. Elements of this offense would be welcomed at Penn State.

If Mangus ends up being Penn State's hire, he could potentially take the quarterbacks coach job in addition to the offensive coordinator position. Mangus is known as a strong quarterbacks coach and would likely help the staff in that role. If your concern is how that would impact current quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne, that would probably not be a major issue. Rahne has experience coaching tight ends and running backs, and the tight end coaching position would still be vacant from Donovan's departure, if Franklin decided to move Rahne to that position.

In addition to coordinating and position coaching, Mangus also brings an excellent recruiting background to the table. Many outlets have noted that Mangus is not just a top recruiter at South Carolina, but one of the best in the country, although he hasn't done quite as well in recruiting this year as he's done in the past. And while it's not the sort of thing that should rank anywhere near the top of a list of qualifications for the next offensive coordinator, it is not lost on us that Mangus was the main recruiter for 2016 quarterback recruit, South Carolina commit, and still-Penn State target Brandon McIlwain. It's not unreasonable to think that McIlwain could be interested in following his QB coach up north to a school that has been interested in him for a while.

Mangus represents a much more traditional hire at the offensive coordinator position if Franklin chooses to go in this direction. He is an experienced position coach and recruiter who would be taking the next logical step up in getting this promotion. He comes from an SEC school that has been moderately successful in recent years, including three straight bowl wins against Big Ten schools (Nebraska, Michigan, and Wisconsin) in which the offense put up 30+ points from 2012 to 2014. Mangus coached under Steve Spurrier, a legendary college football coach known for his offensive schemes. With Spurrier retiring mid-season, the status of the coaching staff at South Carolina is very much in flux, presumably meaning that Mangus would be willing to listen if Penn State called.