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Penn State Football’s Coaching Staff, But As A Basketball Team

Penn State men’s basketball is having an unprecedented 2019-20 season, and just about everyone in Happy Valley is supporting Pat Chambers’ squad as it’s taken the college basketball world by storm. That, of course, includes James Franklin and his coaching staff.

The head coach fired off this tweet last Friday night in preparation for the Nittany Lions’ game against Northwestern. Franklin and the rest of his staff showcased their vertical ability — but also, their style — in a picture of them jumping in the air rocking full basketball uniforms.

What a picture. Franklin even threw on a headband to pair with that beautifully shiny head of his, and he seems to be getting some serious hangtime.

The tweet did get us thinking, though: What would a starting five comprised of Penn State football’s coaches look like?

Point Guard: Taylor Stubblefield

If the tape from Taylor Stubblefield’s days at Purdue is any indication, the newly-hired wide receiver coach is arguably the best athlete on Penn State’s coaching staff. The former Biletnikoff Award finalist and All-American wideout could use his blazing speed to run the floor for this squad, and I think that would translate to plenty of easy buckets.

Stubblefield is also only 38 years-old, so he’ll likely have a bit more stamina than some of his more ~seasoned~ peers.

In all honesty, though, I’d love to see if Stubblefield still has that quick first step that he used throughout his Boilermaker career to burn Big Ten cornerbacks. If he does, opposing defenders would struggle to keep him from sliding by them and getting to the rim with ease.

Shooting Guard: James Franklin

Does James Franklin have a good jump shot? I have no idea, but the head coach has the confidence and bravado to chuck up plenty of shots from beyond the arc. Simple logic states that the ball has to go into the hoop at some point, so we’re sticking him at the two.

I know it wasn’t basketball, but Franklin was the only football coach to convert on a shot from center ice in front a packed Pegula Ice Arena a few weeks ago. That took some serious guts and, if you ask me, it looks like he’s got the clutch gene that all the great shooting guards have.

Michael Jordan, eat your heart out. Just listen to that roar as the puck finds the back of the net. Imagine that same energy in a packed Bryce Jordan Center as Franklin nails a three to give his squad the lead in the final minute of play.

Small Forward: Phil Trautwein

Penn State’s newly-hired offensive line coach stands out in the coaching staff’s basketball photo. He seems to be getting some pretty good height on his jump and looks just about ready to throw down a ferocious dunk. The man played several seasons in the NFL as an offensive tackle after winning two national championships with Tim Tebow at Florida, so there’s no doubt he can handle some physicality inside, but I also have a feeling he can hit an open jumper fairly consistently.

I think Trautwein would be a key piece to a squad that is already shaping up to be pretty talented.

Power Forward: Tyler Bowen

Penn State’s tight ends coach would, to put it elegantly, be a beast in the low post. He clearly knows how to coach his players to be talented pass catchers and consistent blockers, so I’d love to see him showcase his ability to move guys out of his way in the paint.

Whether Bowen has any scoring ability remains to be seen, but I have full confidence that he can set some mean picks and create open shots for his teammates. Another possible concern with Bowen’s basketball ability is his free-throw shooting, and the Hack-A-Shaq-T-Bow strategy could come back to haunt this team if Bowen can’t get it done from the charity stripe.

Center: Kirk Ciarrocca

Besides the fact that he’s an offensive mastermind, I think Ciarrocca would be able to collect rebounds and serve as an enforcer inside for this team. He won’t necessarily put up the most gaudy stats, but he clearly embodies grittiness (Editor’s Note: This post was written by @gritdude on Twitter, so he is more than qualified to talk about #grit) and will work hard to help his team win.

In terms of his defense, don’t drive to the hoop when Captain Kirk is patrolling the paint. Sean Clifford described his new offensive coordinator as a “fiery guy” back at the Cotton Bowl, so Ciarrocca should be willing to commit a hard foul or two to set the tone early and often.

Head Coach: Terry Smith

No team is complete without a strong leader of men, and Terry Smith could absolutely fill that role. The cornerbacks coach also serves as the Nittany Lions’ assistant head coach, and I think his leadership skills would translate well to the hardwood.

Smith has been around Happy Valley for a longtime, as he was a talented wide receiver for Penn State during his playing days. His experience makes him the obvious choice as the team’s head coach.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a sophomore majoring in journalism and is Onward State's assistant sports editor. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]


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