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Report: Penn State Names Joe Moorhead Offensive Coordinator

UPDATE 6:21 p.m. — Penn State made the hire official. Here’s the full press release.

“We are very excited to have Joe join our Penn State Football family,” Coach James Franklin said. “He has distinguished himself as a head coach who made a dramatic impact at Fordham University. His approach and vision offensively is very similar to ours: hard-nosed, blue collar and explosive! We completed an exhaustive search of many candidates and his name kept rising to the top…Many factors led to this decision. Joe’s makeup as a person and leader is outstanding. He is originally from Pittsburgh and has strong relationships throughout Pennsylvania and the region. He brings invaluable perspective to our staff as a former head coach. Most importantly his offensive production as a coordinator and head coach speaks for itself.”

“I am incredibly excited to join the Penn State Football family,” Moorhead said. “My family and I are thrilled to be coming home. It is an unbelievable opportunity to help contribute to a program with a rich tradition and promising future. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.”

Original Story:

Penn State is set to hire Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead as its next offensive coordinator, according to two different reports today. Morehead’s hire comes about two weeks after John Donovan’s firing and a week after James Franklin named Ricky Rahne the interim offensive coordinator for the TaxSlayer Bowl. Franklin has said that the new coordinator’s would just be to evaluate talent in the bowl game before taking over full-time. The news was broken by a Penn State ComRadio student journalist then corroborated by 247Sports.

Moorhead was Fordham’s quarterback in the mid-90’s and began coaching in 2000. He spent time with Georgetown, Akron, and UConn before settling into his first head coaching gig at his alma mater in 2012. He took over a team that went 1-10 in 2011, and made a dramatic improvement to 6-5 in his first year. In his second year at the helm, the team improved all the way to 12-2 — the most wins Fordham has ever had in the modern era. Moorhead signed a contract extension through 2021, then went 11-3 the next year and most recently, went 9-3 this past season.

Out of 123 FCS teams, Fordham ranked No. 20 in passing yards per game and fourth in passing touchdowns with 32. Moorhead’s offense was led by quarterback Kevin Anderson, who threw for 3,183 yards and 32 touchdowns and rushed for 590 and a score. Fordham ranked No. 42 in rushing yards per game with 181. Overall, the Rams tallied the fourth-most touchdowns in the nation and the 19th-most yards. From a purely statistical standpoint, the offensive system that Moorhead presided over was very successful.

For reference, at the FBS level, Penn State’s offense was No. 82 in passing yards per game, No. 105 in rushing yards, and No. 106 in average yards per game. If Moorhead is able to come in and do a fraction of what his offense did (despite playing an FCS schedule, not FBS), Penn State may be in store for its best offensive season since the end of the Bill O’Brien era (though admittedly, that isn’t saying much).

We’ll have more information on Moorhead’s hiring as it becomes available. Welcome aboard, coach!

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About the Author

Doug Leeson

Doug is a sophomore and Onward State's Assistant Managing Editor. Dislikes: popcorn, Rutgers, and a low #TimberCount. Likes: "Frozen," Rec Hall, and you. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DougLeeson.

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