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Penn State Football: What They’re Saying About New Assistants Seider & Corley

by on May 06, 2018 9:30 PM

Ju’Juan Seider has now been on the job as Penn State’s running backs coach for 100 days.

He succeeded David Corley, who had been the Nittany Lions’ running backs coach for all of two weeks.

Who had succeeded the departed Charles Huff.

Corley is still on James Franklin’s staff, of course — as wide receivers coach, moving there after Seider joined the PSU staff from Florida on Jan. 26.

Their arrival was all part of a hectic offseason that saw Franklin bring in both Corley and Seider, and bring back former Penn State grad assistant Tyler Bowen to coach the tight ends.

It was part a major reshuffling of the Penn State coaching deck, following the mass exodus of 60% of Franklin’s offensive staff. Joe Moorhead and Huff went to Mississippi State and Josh Gattis departed to Alabama as longtime Franklin protégé Ricky Rahne was promoted to offensive coordinator.

The shifts have left Franklin with two distinctly different assistant coaching staffs: The offensive group is a blend of old greybeards Matt Limegrover (literally) and Ricky Rahne (figuratively, though he first worked with Franklin as far back as Kansas State in 2006) and some younger bucks — as Seider and Corley had never worked for CJF prior to this January.

The defensive staff knows Franklin and Penn State very well. Coordinator Brent Pry and associate head coach Sean Spencer have been with CJF through three seasons at Vanderbilt and going on five at Penn State. Cornerback coach Terry Smith, the lone Penn State alum on the staff, is starting Year 5 with Franklin, while safeties coach Tim Banks, who came to Penn State in 2016 after a stint at D-coordinator at Illinois (including a 39-0 loss to Penn State in 2015, the most points scored by PSU that season) coached with Franklin at Maryland in 2003-04. Assistant D-line coach Phil Galiano, who also heads the special teams, was a Penn State quality control assistant in 2017.

SEIDER AND CORLEY

Seider coached the Florida running backs in 2017, after stints coaching the backs at West Virginia (2013-2016) and Marshall (2010-12). Prior to that, he was a GA at West Virginia and coached high school football in Florida for several years. His extensive ties in Florida will serve Penn State in good stead as Franklin looks to mine that fertile recruiting ground.

Corley spent 2017 coaching the wide receivers at Army, where much of his time was spent refining the Cadets’ blocking techniques. Army ran the ball 92.3% of the time last season. The West Point air attack completed 20 of 65 pass attempts for 361 yards, with 6 interceptions and 2 TDs. For the season. Running back Kell Walker was Army’s leading receiver, with 5 catches for 111 yards. (By comparison, Trace McSorley completed more than 20 passes in a single game seven times last season, including 19 in the first half vs. Maryland.)

Corley did coach the wide receivers at William & Mary in 2013, when he was the passing game coordinator, and at UConn in 2015. Overall, his other college coaching positions included: William & Mary, running backs (2008-09); W&M, quarterbacks (2010-2012); and UConn running backs (2014, ’16) and special teams (2015).

How are they doing?

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With one set of spring drills under their belts, we wondered the same thing. Here’s what Penn State’s coaches and players have to say about Corley and Seider. (Other than a conference call back in February, neither has been made available in group media settings.)

HEAD COACH JAMES FRANKLIN

“They’ve been great,” Franklin said near the tail end of spring drills. “I interviewed David seven years ago when I hired Josh Gattis (at Vanderbilt), so I’ve known David for a long time and have been tracking him and building that relationship. Ju’Juan is a guy I’ve just gotten to know recently.

“Early on, there’s not a whole lot of guys bringing in their own ideas or perspectives. Don’t get me wrong — we have conversations and they have input like everybody else.

“But right now, they’re trying to learn our systems. And then once they have our systems down pat — which they’re pretty far along with that — then that’s when they can bring their perspectives from Army or UConn or West Virginia or from Florida. And that’s what’s happening now. But I think it becomes the most valuable once they know our systems and our culture, then they can add to it.

“They’ve been great fits culturally.  And their families as well. But I think we’ll gain the most value in them after spring ball, after spring recruiting, when we start going through these things more detail this summer and in training camp.”

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR RICKY RAHNE

“They’ve had a bunch of different experiences at other places,” Rahne said after the Blue-White Game. “David’s been a coordinator. Ju’Juan’s had experience at a number of different levels and he’s been in the spread offense for a long time, which has bene invaluable for me.

“They both played quarterback (as did Rahne), which helps me out — not just with the quarterbacks, but as a whole since everything goes through the quarterback in this offense, so we make sure we’re doing things the right way.

“I think it takes a while to get indoctrinated. We have to go through the whole game-planning process if course. We have a lot of idiosyncrasies in in game-planning during the (game) week. Until you’ve been through a few of those, I don’t know if you’re fully indoctrinated. They have a good feel for the actual schemes and things like that. They’re pretty good at that.”

GUARD RYAN BATES

“From what I hear from the running backs and receivers, we’re where we need to be,” veteran offensive lineman Ryan Bates said the last week of spring drills. “I’ve heard a lot of good things.

“It’s the 13th, 14th practice, right? So, they’re not new — not to me.”

WIDE RECEIVER BRANDON POLK

“I like Coach Corley’s knowledge of the game,” fourth-year receiver Brandon Polk said. “He’s helped us figure what we need to reading-wise as far as route-running and different aspects like that.

“He’s really fun. He’s a great coach, but when we’re out it’s time to work, he’s ready to work. But he can laugh and joke with us.”

“Coach is basically the same” as Gattis, who coached the Penn State wide receivers from 2014 to 2017, said Polk. “He wants us to be the best we can. He did come from Army, didn’t he? They were a big blocking team with their triple option, so we might be a little better with our blocking this year.”

RUNNING BACK MILES SANDERS

“I interacted with Coach Corley because his first day he was running backs coach,” said Sanders during spring drills. “He’s cool, laidback. I didn’t get to know him a lot, because literally the first day he was the running backs coach and the next day he moved to wide receivers.”

Sanders noted a few differences between Seider and Huff, who coached the Nittany Lion running backs from 2014 to 2017.

“The difference between Coach Seider and Coach Huff is that Coach Seider is more of a teaching coach. He teaches us the little things more. When we line up in the backfield, he gets on us about our footwork. We changed up our footwork a little bit from last year. He’s been on us about that, being strict about the little things.”

RUNNING BACK JONATHAN THOMAS

“Coach Seider is just a cool guy,” Thomas said after the Blue-White Game. “He’s a family-oriented guy. He came in so smoothly. He realizes we’re college students. He doesn’t forget what it was to be in college, so he knows what that feels like that. I feel like some coaches forget what it feels like to be a college kid.

“The trust we have with him translates to the field. It makes us want to go harder. Everybody has bought into his philosophy of the game and what we need to do.

“He does a great job with the running back drills that translate over to the game. We’ve done a bunch of drills in practice that show up on game days mad scrimmages. Some of them are new drills. Everything we’re doing works.”



Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for StateCollege.com since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PSUPoorman. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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