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Penn State Hires Fordham Head Coach Joe Moorhead as Offensive Coordinator

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Look out Big Ten, Penn State just made a home-run hire for OC. He's going to kill it next year.

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State hired Fordham Head Coach Joe Moorhead as its new offensive coordinator. What’s that you say? Who is Joe Moorhead? Well let me tell you a bit about him…

The 42-year old Moorhead is a Pittsburg native who played quarterback for Fordham from 1992 to 1995. He went on to a brief stint in the NFL, then went into coaching. He was the offensive coordinator at Georgetown (2003), Akron (2007 to 2008), and UConn (2009-2010).

He’s credited with modernizing offenses at Akron and UConn. At Akron in 2008, Moorhead’s "multiple, no huddle" offense was elite. It ranked among the top 17 in the country. It ranked 45th in rushing offense, 46th in passing offense, 40th in total offense and 36th in scoring offense.

He guided UConn’s brilliant 2010 season, when the Huskies won the Big East conference and went to the Fiesta Bowl. Under Moorhead, the Huskies finished 2009 second in scoring in the Big East. In 2010, they were second in both scoring and rushing offense.

He landed the Fordham head coaching job in 2011, after the team went 1-10. He turned the program around, as you can see in the table below:

Year

Record

Passing Yards

Rushing Yards

Points per Game

2011

1-10

2,527

941

13.2

2012

6-5

3,076

1,717

31.2

2013

12-2

5,052

2,162

37.6

2014

11-3

4,565

2,353

40.6

2015

9-3

3,268

2,171

36.8

Moorhead’s Fordham Rams went 38-13 under his coaching and made it to the FCS playoffs the last three years. He won Patriot League coach of the year in 2013.

The offense is an up-tempo, no huddle style. The quarterback is in the shotgun. Runs are a mix of zone read and traditional runs. Pass plays are built around route trees designed to take advantage of specific coverages. Play calls are a good balance of runs and passes. Over his four years, Fordham ran 51% run plays and 49% pass plays.

Joe Moorhead Teaching "Scissors"

Check out the video above,where he diagrams his "scissors" route tree concept. You can see his quarterback roots showing.

He goes into some detail about how his routes are conceptual (rather than rote memorization by position). No matter where they line up, they know what route they are supposed to run.

This is an area that Penn State failed miserably this year. Our receivers failed to get open all season. Our passing plays rarely took advantage of what the defense gave us. It’s clear from this video (and several others) that Moorhead is a tactician. He’s a former quarterback who created his offenses for quarterbacks.

From everything I’ve read and seen of Joe Moorhead, I’m a fan. He’s a winner. His teams improve dramatically. He has coached several NFL receivers and running backs. I expect that he’ll have huge success with the caliber of athletes at Penn State.

I like this hire.