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Getting To Know Penn State’s New Offensive Line Coach Phil Trautwein

Penn State football opted to part ways with offensive line coach Matt Limegrover after four seasons earlier this offseason. In his stead, James Franklin added Boston College offensive line coach Phil Trautwein to his staff.

After four seasons in the NFL as an offensive tackle, Trautwein began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Boston College in 2013 until leaving to become a tight ends coach at Davidson from 2016 to 2018 before returning to Boston College as an offensive line coach in 2018.

In his brief stint as Boston College’s offensive line coach, Trautwein certainly didn’t disappoint. In 2018, he was able to coach Chris Lindstrom to All-American status and a first-round selection in the NFL Draft. In 2019, Trautwein helped four linemen achieve All-ACC honors. These included John Phillips to first team, Zion Johnson and Ben Petrula to second team, and Alex Lindstrom to third team. In addition to these accolades, Boston College’s offensive line was best in the FBS in terms of blitz-down sack rates.

Part of what has made Trautwein such a successful young coach is his ability to both relate to and motivate his players, who he’s helped reach their full potential.

“I’m relatively young in this profession but I know exactly what the players are going through,” he said. “I kind of have that mindset that I want to be the best O-Line coach in the country. I want to have the best O-line in the country.”

The Voorhees, New Jersey native grew up a Penn State fan and dreamt of becoming a Penn State football player. However, when it came time to pick a college, he accepted a scholarship to play at Florida under Urban Meyer in 2004.

During the 2005 season, Trautwein played all 12 games, making his first start at tight end. The next season, Trautwein switched to left tackle, where he also started all 14 games for the national champion Gators.

He missed the 2007 season with a foot injury, but returned strong in his senior season. In 2008, Trautwein started every game for the, once again, national champion Gators. He also received first and second team All-SEC honors in 2006 and 2008.

Trautwein wound up going undrafted in 2009, but later signed with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent. He spent 2009 to 2012 bouncing around several NFL practice squads, including the Browns, Saints, and Chargers, before deciding to take up coaching in 2013.

Though Penn State’s offensive line saw improvement throughout the tenure of Matt Limegrover, the team is hoping Phil Trautwein will be able to help them take the next step forward. There were several moments throughout the 2019 season in which Sean Clifford would’ve benefited from a little more time in the pocket, but that’s to be expected when facing Big Ten defenses.

“He’s from our region, which I don’t think is the end-all, be-all, but it helps,” Franklin said. “He’s got a story that’s attractive to our current players and recruits.”

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About the Author

Richard Smeltzer

Richard is a junior majoring in applied statistics at Penn State. He is originally from York, Pennsylvania, and spent his first two years of college at Penn State York. Being from a family filled with Penn State alumni, he has been deeply ingrained in the culture. Growing up a Baltimore Orioles and Miami Dolphins fan, he has experienced many hardships throughout his life. You can find him screaming into the void about these teams, and much more, on Twitter @SecretRichardS.

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