The Penn State assistant coaching carousel continued to turn Monday, with offensive line coach Herb Hand taking the same position at Auburn.
Hand and Tigers’ head coach Gus Malzahn were co-offensive coordinators at Tulsa in 2007 and 2008.
Hand later moved on to Vanderbilt, and remained with the Commodores when James Franklin took over the program in 2011. When Franklin was named Penn State head coach in January of 2014, Hand was among the Vandy assistants who came to Happy Valley with him.
Unfortunately for Hand, he inherited an O-line corps that had been sapped of talent by NCAA sanctions and several years of generally poor recruiting. And the unit showed little improvement in his two years leading it (and serving as run-game coordinator).
Penn State allowed 39 sacks in 2015 (ranking 111th nationally) and 44 in ’14. The Nittany Lions were 12th in the Big Ten (105th nationally) in rushing offense last season after finishing last in the conference in that department the previous season.
The position at Auburn opened after former Tiger offensive line coach J.B. Grimes accepted the same position at Cincinnati.
The day after the regular season ended, Franklin fired offensive coordinator John Donovan. He later hired Joe Moorhead as Donovan’s replacement.
Over the weekend, PSU defensive coordinator Bob Shoop took the same position at Tennessee. He was replaced by linebackers’ coach Brent Pry.
So Franklin now has two positions open on his staff — offensive line (Hand) and safety (Shoop).
Auburn released the following statement from Hand:
“My family and I are extremely excited to join the Auburn football family and be a part of a program with such great tradition and history. We’re especially excited to rejoin Coach Malzahn and work with him again. It was an opportunity that was way too good for us to pass up. I want to thank Coach James Franklin and the Penn State football program for two great years and I wish them nothing but the best moving forward."