Minnesota fired Tracy Claeys as head coach this week and took a stab at opening a conversation with Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead.
According to the Associated Press on Wednesday, Minnesota reached out to Moorhead about the recent vacancy but was turned away. The AP reports Moorhead’s agent relayed to Minnesota that Moorhead had no interest in leaving his job as offensive coordinator in State College. That holds steady with the statements recently made by Moorhead when the topic of possible coaching opportunities has come up over the past month. Moorhead says he is committed to staying at Penn State as the offensive coordinator, and so far that has been backed up.
Moorhead is one of the top offensive coordinators in the country coming off a fantastic turnaround season at Penn State, his first season in State College. The offense was in gear in the Rose Bowl, although it got a little too conservative in the fourth quarter, and Moorhead has had his name mentioned as top potential targets for a few head coaching jobs already as a result of the impact he has had this season. The former head coach at Fordham had been mentioned as a possible target for UConn (who ended up bringing former Maryland head coach Randy Edsall back), and some had thought Temple should target him (the Owls ended up getting Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins). Don’t expect the Moorhead rumors to slow down either.
With much of the offense coming back in 2017, Moorhead has an opportunity to keep his own stock improving with another year with Saquon Barkley and a confident Trace McSorley continuing to sling the ball with his signature moxie. As long as Penn State’s offense remains as fun to watch as it was in 2016, Moorhead’s name is going to be thrown in a number of coaching rumors, and the profile of those coaching rumors is likely to improve as well. Expect to hear Moorhead’s name mentioned in rumors for power conference openings in the next round of the coaching carousel, and do not be stunned if the time comes Moorhead accepts an offer tossed his way. Moorhead seems committed to Penn State right now, but if a great opportunity to be a head coach comes along, nobody can fault him for accepting it.
We can cross that bridge when the time comes, but if Penn State assistants and coordinators are being sought after for coaching opportunities that allow for a promition in title elsewhere, that can only mean that things are continuing to go well for Penn State.
As for Minnesota, the Gophers have reportedly met with Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck. Personally, I felt Purdue should go all in for P.J. Fleck (although I really liek the hiring of Jeff Brohm from Western Kentucky), but now that Fleck is still in Kalamazoo I think Minnesota needs to do almost anything they can to hire the young energetic coach.