Penn State football is reportedly just days away from a coaching search to replace offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead as he takes the head coaching job at Mississippi State. It's unknown at this time if Moorhead will coach in Penn State's bowl game.
But what is known, Penn State is about to be on the lookout for an offensive coordinator, and here are four guys to consider if you're James Franklin.
These are all guesses, in no order.
It was always going to be a tall order to follow Chip Kelly at Oregon, but for a while Helfrich did just fine for himself and an explosive Oregon offense that is not far from what Penn State is already running. Helfrich was already in town to work for FS1 as an analyst so he has seen Penn State up close and personal.
If Penn State wants to go the Moorhead route again and look down the ranks a bit outside of the Power Five conferences, the Sun Belt and Troy OC Kenny Edenfield might not be a bad place to start. Troy has been dropping points on teams at a torrid pace, and even managed to beat LSU in Tiger Stadium early in the season and nearly beat Boise State. Troy has just two losses on the year, with a win over the oh-so-famous Akron squad of Week 1 so long ago.
Penn State went in-house to replace Bob Shoop with Brent Pry and could do it again here with Rahne. This may have made sense a year or two ago, but Rahne has seen his stock fall more than rise going from QBs to TEs and far less visible than he once was with the media. There's not doubt James Franklin has tried to pump up Rahne's future as an OC on more than one occasion, but it's hard to see the answer to a Moorhead vacancy being a guy already on the staff before Moorhead ever got there. Then again, he wouldn't be a bad hire, just not the top of the list.
If you want a quarterback turned OC who has been around a lot of points and is waiting to prove himself, Harrell is a good choice. Time at Oklahoma State and Washington State put him in touch with two of the most explosive offenses in the game. Now he's at North Texas as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach running one of the highest scoring offenses in the nation. Is he ready for an even bigger gig?
This is the person who will probably get the job, because there are a million coaches out there and I picked four. For example, fellow writer Mike Poorman thinks James Perry might be the guy.
Instead, think along the lines of a James Perry. As the former offensive coordinator at Princeton, he was the architect of a very successful 2 QB-in-the-backfield offense that includes elements Penn State has incorporated. Which makes sense, since when Moorhead was at Fordham he and his staff met with Perry and Princeton's staff. Perry became head coach this year at Bryant, and over the past three games his team has scored 128 points. (His brother John is Bill O'Brien's wide receivers coach with the Houston Texans.)