Unlike two years ago, offense isn’t broken
THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: SHOULD JOE MOORHEAD’S SUCCESSOR COME FROM THE CURRENT STAFF?
My answer is, yes, I do.
Here’s why: When James Franklin fired John Donovan two years ago, the Nittany Lions’ offense was broken and needed new ideas — even though Franklin brought Donovan with him from Vanderbilt.
Part of the dysfunction was the presence of Christian Hackenberg, an immobile quarterback who was stuck in a system that, when the play broke down, preferred a QB who could make some first downs with his feet.
And, as we’ve seen for two years, boy can Trace McSorley do that.
It’s an entirely different situation now, and as Joe Moorhead is fitting himself into something maroon while he gets ready to be introduced as Mississippi State’s head coach, Penn State’s offense is locked and loaded to continue doing great things.
It doesn’t need the jolt and complete overhaul that Moorhead provided.
McSorley is back, and as long as Tommy Stevens is around, Penn State can claim its quarterback position to be the strongest in the country.
Further, even though Saquon Barkley and Mike Gesicki will be departing, a veteran line returns after showing late-season improvement, along with plenty of skill players such as Juwan Johnson, DeAndre Thompkins, Miles Sanders and some decorated freshmen.
Franklin is in perfect position to pass the torch to an able assistant on the offensive staff who has seen what went wrong under Donovan and right under Moorhead.
We obviously don’t know what goes on in staff meetings, but you’ve got to believe the work of Ricky Rahne, Josh Gattis and Matt Limegrover contributed significantly to an offense for which Moorhead and Franklin have gotten the credit.
Across this page, Cory will contend, and others will agree, Moorhead raised the profile of the position and will predict an outside hire.
However, not promoting from within, when it’s merited, can have a negative impact on staff morale and lead to more turnover, less continuity and a greater transition than Moorhead’s departure needs to create.
And that can be especially damaging when you’re counting on these guys to stock the program with four-star recruits, which they have.
Rahne has coached the quarterbacks before (he’s handled the tight ends the last two years), served as passing game coordinator for the last four years and called the plays in the TaxSlayer Bowl after Donovan left.
Limegrover was an offensive coordinator for five years at Minnesota, though there’s some question on whether he’s more comfortable as a position coach.
Gattis is a former NFL player who was credited for suggesting the game-winning play at Iowa.
Of the three, Rahne would appear to be the most promotable, and don’t be surprised if he gets the job.
He’s been with Franklin for seven seasons so if not now, when?
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.