The departure of former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead to Mississippi State left a void in James Franklin’s coaching staff that quickly needed to be filled. Fortunately for new offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne, Franklin is “a big believer of promoting from within”.
Franklin, who will complete his fourth season leading Penn State on Saturday, had a lot to say about his new offensive coordinator during the week leading up to the Fiesta Bowl. Franklin promoted Rahne to his new position on December 1, leaving his team without an offensive coordinator for all of 48 hours.
“Sometimes you have to go [with an]outside [hire]and we’re ready and prepared to do that,” Franklin said of choosing a new OC, “but when you got really smart, talented people that have been loyal and in it for the right reasons, I think [hiring Ricky Rahne] makes a lot of sense. “
Ricky Rahne was one of many assistant coaches who joined Penn State along with Franklin in 2014. He was hired as Vanderbilt’s quarterbacks coach from 2011-13 and earned the same position in Happy Valley in 2014. Promoting Rahne to offensive coordinator gives James Franklin’s offense stability and familiarity, something that an outside hire would not have provided.
“I really didn’t want to change offenses again,” Franklin said. “I think that’s, again, where you can have some consistency in your program. You got veteran quarterbacks, you’ve got a veteran offense that knows our scheme. If you’re going to go out and hire a high-powered coordinator from somewhere else, you can’t expect them to come in and run your system. You’ve got to hire them to come in and run what they’ve been successful doing. For us, that was an option, or the [other]option was to stay in-house and allow this team to continue to grow. Ricky’s done a great job of it.”
Prior to making the hire official, Franklin talked to some of his players — most notably Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens — about their thoughts on the hire. In the 29 days since Moorhead’s departure, the transition has been smooth.
“The quarterbacks in our room were a big part of that,” Franklin said. “Ricky recruited every single quarterback in our room, so I think a lot of it had to do with what Trace McSorley felt good about, what Tommy Stevens felt good about. Talking to the players, it’s been a really smooth transition for the most part.”
As for the advice Franklin gave to Ricky Rahne, it was simple: he wants his new OC to just be himself.
“I want Ricky to be Ricky,” he said. “Don’t try to come in and be someone else. Be authentic, be you, and the offense will evolve, no different than it did between year one and year two, it will evolve again this year.”
Rahne will make his official debut as Penn State’s offensive coordinator on Saturday afternoon in Glendale when the Nittany Lions take on No. 11 Washington. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. at University of Phoenix Stadium.