UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – When head coach James Franklin and Joe Moorhead sat down to interview for the open offensive coordinator position, neither expected to be talking football for more than four hours.
But time flies when you spend time talking to a person as passionate about the game as you.
Franklin and Moorhead started with the basics of running game scheme around 10:15 p.m. on a night last week in New York. After talking through the passing game, family, Penn State and the coaching staff, Franklin and Moorhead turned to the clock and it was 2:47 a.m.
“And we could have kept going,” Franklin joked.
After being announced as the new offensive coordinator on Saturday, Moorhead and Franklin spent time with the media on Wednesday afternoon in Beaver Stadium to talk about the process leading up to Moorhead’s hiring and the future.
Franklin said that after numerous discussions, he knew that Moorhead was a great fit for Penn State because he possesses all of the characteristics necessary to be a successful leader of the Nittany Lion offense. Coach Franklin admired how detail-oriented Moorhead was during clinic talks he had been to.
The two also spent some time together when the Nittany Lions practiced at Fordham University in the days leading up to the Pinstripe Bowl last season. And through analyzing all of Moorhead’s offensive numbers during his stints at Fordham, Connecticut and Akron, Franklin knew he was the right man for the job.
“You run all the data, third down percentage, scoring offense, red zone, so on and so forth; every piece of information you can possibly imagine, and you look at who is at the top of ever single category, and Joe kept jumping to the top of three or four in every single category,” Franklin said.
A native of Pittsburgh, Moorhead is a graduate of Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School. For him, the opportunity to return to his home state was something he couldn’t pass up when the opportunity presented itself.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for both me and my family, both professionally and personally,” said Moorhead. “Being able to come back close to home and contribute to such a tradition-rich program like Penn State and help Coach Franklin and the program achieve their goals, I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity.”
Moorhead noted that the foundation of an ideal offense in his eye is a successful running game. He wants to be physical on the ground. Collectively, Moorhead summed up his offensively philosophy as one that is physical and aggressive.
“We want to dictate tempo. We want to be aggressive. We want to be physical in the run game. We want to be explosive in the pass game,” said Moorhead.
The hiring comes at a great time for Moorhead to get a jumpstart on planning for 2016. He will spend the next two weeks leading up to the TaxSlayer Bowl meeting with the players, observing at practice and getting to know the rest of the coaching staff. Moorhead will observe, but not coach during the bowl game.
Learn more about the new offensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions in an exclusive one-on-one interview with GoPSUsports.com.