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Penn State Football: Seven Potential Offensive Coordinator Hires for Year Seven

by on December 09, 2019 11:40 PM

With now former Penn State offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne taking over as head coach at Old Dominion the Nittany Lions will have their fourth play caller in seven years under James Franklin.

The replacement hire will be one which greatly impacts the next chapter of the Franklin era and will help dictate both the course of the 2020 season as well as Penn State's institutional push towards an elusive playoff berth and more consistent results in high profile games.

A candidate for the job will almost certainly be experienced, have ties to some portion of Penn State's recruiting footprint and have had success in the past. Generally speaking Franklin has hired coaches that either he or his assistants have known or worked with, but in reality that limits the pool of options as time goes along.

Nevertheless it's an important hire, and if Franklin's new contract was really about the money around him more than the money he gets, then Penn State might be in the position to take a run at some bigger names.

In truth only a few people know who Penn State will target, but here are seven fun guesses as the search begins, if it hasn't already.  

Joe Brady (LSU):

Everyone in America wants to hire Joe Brady. LSU's passing game coordinator is one of the hottest names in the sport and his star will only get brighter as the Tigers hit the postseason. In reality LSU seems very committed to keeping Brady in town and reportedly is prepared to throw title and money at him to do it. The only edge Penn State has here against everyone else? Brady was a graduate assistant at Penn State in 2015 and 2016. Brady hasn't had to call plays on his own yet and in a sense it would be a slight gamble, but every hire is a gamble and stealing Brady from the rest of the college football world would be a big win for James Franklin in more ways than one.

Kirk Ciarrocca (Minnesota):

Born in Pennsylvania and a graduate of Temple, Kirk Ciarrocca has been a bright spot in Minnesota's resurgence this season. Penn State got to see his work from up close in Minneapolis and James Franklin was complimentary of Ciarrocca both before and after the game. One would imagine Penn State has the muscle to win a bidding war against Minnesota, but if nothing else the chance to call plays at Beaver Stadium might be enough to lure him off of PJ Fleck's staff.

Andrew Breiner (Mississippi State):

It's hard to imagine Joe Moorhead's protege leaving the master, but Breiner has been a name on these kinds of lists for as long as Moorhead has been in the Penn State lexicon. Mississippi State certainly didn't shock the world in 2018 or 2019, but Breiner is going to have plenty of systematic knowledge if Penn State is trying to run a very Moorhead/Rahne approach in 2020. This feels like a long shot and not automatically a home run, but you could do worse. 

Shawn Lutz (Slippery Rock)

The Rock has scored points at will this year, an incredible amount of points and head coach Shawn Lutz has been there the entire time. In reality it seems unlikely that Penn State turns in this direction first, but it's a fun name to put on the list. And considering Slippery Rock is still undefeated at 13-0, not like he hasn't backed it up.

Mike Yurcich (Ohio State)

With Ohio and Pennsylvania roots Yurcich is another one of these names that pops up when Penn State has offensive openings. The issue here is why would he want to leave Ohio State? As the passing game coordinator and QB coach there are better titles out there, but it's hard to imagine any kind of pitch making him want to leave Ryan Day after a single season. Stranger things have happened in the coaching world though.

Kalen DeBoer (Indiana) :

If there is one thing Indiana can do well it's throw the ball. The Hoosier had their way with Penn State's defense even in a losing effort and one would imagine improved talent might have changed that. Indiana appears to have a bit of program momentum but at the end of the day still have a bit of work to do to make any real push in the east division. DeBoer's talents might be better served elsewhere. Question is, how loyal is he to Tom Allen who recently signed a new contract.

Rhett Lashlee (SMU):

An outside the box hire here, Lashlee has background in the south but with a stop at UConn along the way. Penn State has expanded its recruiting footprint ever so slightly south and another assistant with southern ties wouldn't hurt that any. SMU has generally been one of the more overlooked programs in America the past few years and Lashlee has certainly contributed to that rise. Does he want a bigger and better job?  

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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Penn State Football: Rahne Named Head Coach at Old Dominion
December 09, 2019 4:01 PM
by Ben Jones
Penn State Football: Rahne Named Head Coach at Old Dominion
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