After yet another uninspiring performance against a top-10 team, Penn State head coach James Franklin made a major change to his coaching staff by firing offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. Running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider and tight ends coach Ty Howle will take over as co-offensive coordinators for the remainder of the season, but Franklin will have a tough decision to make in the offseason.
This next OC hire could be Franklin’s last, so he needs to get it right. Here are five names to watch in Penn State’s search for its new offensive coordinator.
Josh Gattis – offensive coordinator, Maryland
Die-hard Penn State fans will know this one.
Gattis started with Franklin as the wide receivers coach at Vanderbilt more than a decade ago, and he followed the head coach to Penn State in 2014. After being passed up for the offensive coordinator job for Ricky Rahne, Gattis left PSU to become the wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator at Alabama. He’s bounced around to Michigan, Miami and Maryland since then.
Gattis is a familiar face, but he may not want to return to Happy Valley after how it ended the first time around.
Joe Moorhead – head coach, Akron
Franklin has made more than a few mistakes with his coaching staff over the years, but Moorhead wasn’t one of them. Penn State went 22-5 over Moorhead’s two seasons as the offensive coordinator, beat Ohio State for the first and only time in Franklin’s tenure and won the Big Ten title in 2016.
The former Penn State OC hasn’t had as much success since leaving State College to become a head coach, so he might be interested in a reunion.
Andy Kotelnicki – offensive coordinator, Kansas
Kotelnicki is going to be one of the hottest names throughout the hiring cycle this offseason. As the Kansas OC, he led the Jayhawks to a program-best 7.0 yards per play in 2022, which also ranked second in the nation behind only Ohio State. Kansas has shuffled through two different quarterbacks this year, and Kotelnicki’s offense is still putting up 32.7 points per game.
The advantage of firing an OC before the season ends is that you get a head start on the hiring process, so Penn State could get to Kotelnicki before anyone else does.
Brennan Marion – offensive coordinator, UNLV
Speaking of hot assistant coaches, Marion is surely due for a new job this offseason.
The innovative offensive coordinator developed the “GoGo” offense, which combines triple-option looks with spread concepts, when he first started coaching football, and his scheme has helped UNLV start 8-2 this season with the 18th-best scoring offense in the country. Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen sure would love this pick.
Ja’Juan Seider – RBs coach, Penn State
We’ve seen Franklin pass on internal promotions before, but if Penn State were to promote from within, Seider would be the clear favorite.
Seider has been a key recruiter for Penn State over the last few years, as he’s played a key role in scooping up multiple four- and five-star running back prospects. Franklin trusted Seider enough to name him a co-offensive coordinator in 2022 and an assistant head coach in 2023. This would be only realistic inside hire for the Nittany Lions.