The Penn State football media got its first real taste of offensive coordinator Kirk CIarrocca on Tuesday.
Well, sort of.
Ciarrocca met with the assembled media for a video call, as everyone continues to operate in a post-social distancing world.
The Lewisberry, Pennsylvania native joked that he’s seemingly working more than ever this time of the year as he tries to install his new offense without the benefit of spring practices.
Ciarrocca has had to get creative, as coaches have limited time that they’re allowed to work with players during the week. To do this, he’s included quizzes in order to evaluate whether players have been able to commit the offense to memory.
“You can really kind of grade yourself as a teacher,” he said. “If the guys all bomb the quiz, you have to look at yourself and say ‘shoot, I did not do a great job of presenting this material.’ ”
The Ricky Rahne replacement says that, so far, players have excelled in quizzes and that he’s happy with their progress.
Ciarrocca comes over from the University of Minnesota where he helped lead the Golden Gophers to an 11-win season, one of their best in program history.
One added element for Ciarrocca is the mobility of quarterbacks Sean Clifford and Will Levis. Last season, Minnesota had one of the most effective run games in the nation, though quarterback Tanner Morgan was rarely involved.
Ciarrocca said that this year, he would be “crazy” not to use Clifford and Levis to help improve a run game that many feel could be one of the nation thanks to a loaded backfield.
When he’s not focusing on installing his offense, Ciarrocca said that he’s been making a significant amount of recruiting calls. The Nittany Lions are in the midst of a surge, or sorts, in recruiting but are still looking to land a quarterback, whether it be Caleb Williams, Christian Veilleux or someone else.
Lastly, Ciarrocca praised James Franklin and the rest of his fellow coaches. He noted that the messaging has been consistent throughout the coaches room and that coaches feel comfortable speaking up if they see something they feel the program could do differently.