Penn State Football

2 Popular Candidates Penn State Football Should NOT Hire to Replace Mike Yurcich

After firing Mike Yurcich as offensive coordinator, Penn State Football head coach James Franklin is tasked with hiring a sixth offensive coordinator during his tenure in Happy Valley.

This new offensive coordinator must be a home run hire to not only keep the offense together and out of the transfer portal, but also must lead Penn State’s offense into a future to be competitive, to not only make the 12-team College Football Playoff, but coach and recruit well enough to advance in it.

Immediately upon the offensive coordinator position opening, Penn State fans flocked to X (formerly twitter) to share their opinions about who Franklin should hire. Two names stood out as former Penn State coaches that I believe Penn State should NOT hire as offensive coordinator to move forward as a program.

Two Offensive Coordinator Candidates Penn State Football Should Avoid

Joe Moorhead

Joe Moorhead is always brought up as a popular name because of his time at Penn State leading Penn State’s offense (an offense that featured Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkley, and Chris Godwin, among others) to the 2016 Big Ten Championship.

Moorhead left after a second 11 win season in a row in 2017 to be the head coach at Mississippi State.

Since leaving, Moorhead has had stints at Miss St, as the Oregon offensive coordinator and as the head coach at Akron (where he currently is coaching). In his second season in Akron, however, Moorhead is 2-8 with an offense that ranks 10th in the MAC in points per game. In 2020 and 2021, Moorhead’s offense at Oregon ranked 42nd in points per game.

Moorhead’s offensive style also focuses on a mobile quarterback and an option style, something Penn State and Drew Allar have been getting away from after years with McSorley and Sean Clifford.

Akron’s starting quarterback also leads the team in rush attempts (McSorley ranked 2nd on the team and logged over 140 rush attempts in both 2016 and 2017 under Moorhead, Allar is on pace for 76 in 2023).

If Penn State wants to keep Allar and Ethan Grunkemeyer (Penn State’s 2024 QB Commit), Joe Moorhead’s style may not be the right choice for the Nittany Lions.

A bit of nostalgia keeps Moorhead on this list because of what Moorhead did with McSorley and Barkley, but I believe the time to bring Joe Moorhead back to State College has passed and Penn State would be better served looking elsewhere.



Joe Brady

Former Penn State graduate assistant Joe Brady’s name is also brought up every time Penn State has had an offensive coordinator opening after Brady helped LSU’s passing game to the 2019 College Football national championship.

While Brady did not control that offense, he was the passing game coordinator for Joe Burrow and a record setting LSU passing attack. Since that season, however, Brady has moved to the NFL and turned down multiple opportunities to return to college football.

After serving as the Carolina Panthers’ offensive coordinator under Matt Rhule, Brady has been the Buffalo Bills quarterbacks coach for the past two seasons. Without experience in college recruiting, especially in the transfer portal era, and a lack of quantifiable success outside of the 2019 season with a team that was loaded to the brim with NFL talent, Brady is too risky of a hire for Franklin at this time.

Penn State needs a proven OC with play calling experience and recruiting prowess to push Penn State toward the 12-team playoff and beyond.

Although Penn State has a history with both Moorhead and Brady, James Franklin should look in a different direction for the Nittany Lions future at offensive coordinator.

MORE: Penn State Fans Need Reality Check, Despite Loss to Michigan

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About Author

Robert Casturo

Expertise: College Football, Penn State Football Education: Saint Vincent College, Penn State Law School Location: Washington, DC Experience: Robert Casturo has covered Penn State football for NittanyCentral since 2022. Casturo previously covered Penn State football through a social media presence (@PSU_FB_Thoughts on X) since 2019. Casturo earned his bachelor's degree from Saint Vincent College in 2015, where he was a punter for 1 season on the Saint Vincent College football team and worked in the athletic department for 2 years as a student manager. Casturo earned his JD from Penn State Law in 2018 where he was a senior editor of the Penn State Law Review.