When word dropped Dec. 12 that Joe Moorhead would be named Penn State’s new offensive coordinator, Nittany Lion players and fans did the same thing. Namely, they went online to see what they could learn about the man who transformed Fordham from a FCS doormat into a contender.
“I feel like everyone did that,” PSU redshirt sophomore WR DaeSean Hamilton said. “A lot of guys did their research on him, trying to see what kind of scheme he was coming in here with. I found out he had a lot of success where he was before this — at plenty of schools he was at before this — so I’m excited to get started.”
Moorhead had been the head coach at Fordham. Prior to that, he had been an offensive assistant at three different programs (Georgetown, Akron and UConn) and a graduate assistant at Pitt.
Since he came on board so late in the season — replacing John Donovan, who was fired Nov. 29 — Moorhead will not get a chance to really sink his teeth into the Penn State offense until after the Nittany Lions face Georgia in the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 2.
Until then, he is observing and spending time getting to know the players.
“We just introduced ourselves and went over the offense a little bit,” redshirt junior TE Brent Wilkerson said of his sit-down with Moorhead. “He was actually pretty good. He seems like a high-character guy, energetic. He’s just ready to get to work, so I’m excited.”
“I sat down with him, met him for the first time,” Hamilton added. “We talked about his success from when he was at Fordham. He asked me about myself, asked about my personal life, my family and things like that. So I got to sit down and have a nice talk with him, got to meet him as a person and a coach.”
Preliminary thoughts on Moorhead’s spread-style offense?
“He wrote some of the schemes down — X’s and O’s, just like the basic stuff — that we’ll be going through later on,” Hamilton said. “It looked pretty interesting. And I saw all the success his teams had with that offense. I’m looking forward to it.”
“He wrote some of the schemes down — X’s and O’s, just like the basic stuff — that we’ll be going through later on. It looked pretty interesting. And I saw all the success his teams had with that offense. I’m looking forward to it.”
It looked really interesting to Wilkerson. At least at Fordham. Moorhead’s offense was very tight end friendly.
Dan Light graduated following the 2014 season after setting a school record for career catches for a tight end (177 for 1,594 yards). He is now on the Denver Broncos’ practice squad.
In 2015, first-year starting TE Phazahn Odom led the Rams with 37 catches for 492 yards and seven TDs.
“His tight ends got the ball a lot,” Wilkerson said. “Apparently one of his guys plays for the Broncos. His first-year starter at Fordham last year did a pretty good job there. So we’re all excited how he uses tight ends.”
As of last Friday afternoon, PSU sophomore TE Mike Gesicki had yet to have his one-on-one with Moorhead. But he was looking forward to it.
“I was just walking in the hallway, shook his hand and introduced myself,” Gesicki said. “I have a meeting set up with him after this (press conference). So I’m gonna go over there and meet with him. I’m excited for that — see what the offense (does), meet with him, build a relationship with him and just kind of go from there.”