Herb Hand mentioned in Auburn coaching rumors; This is the new norm


If you have not gotten used to the idea of assistant coaches routinely being thrown in the rumor mill for other vacancies around the country, it is time to make that adjustment.

Penn State fans have long been spoiled by having a tight-knit coaching staff for decades under Joe Paterno with few adjustments and departures. Penn State has entered the modern world of college football that sees assistant coaches regularly being thought of for various jobs, even if parallel job changes in titles. In 2016 Penn State will have two brand new coordinators under James Franklin with Joe Moorehead taking over as offensive coordinator after a successful stint as Fordham’s head coach and Brent Pry being promoted by Franklin to take on the role of defensive coordinator following the loss of Bob Shoop to Tennessee. Now, according to AL.com, Penn State offensive line coach Herb Hand is being connected as  a possible addition to the staff at Auburn should the Tigers lose their current o-line coach to Cincinnati.

From AL.com;

Should [Auburn offensive line coach J.B. Grimes] leave Auburn, potential candidates to join Auburn’s staff include Penn State offensive line coach Herb Hand, who is close friends with [Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn], and Arkansas State offensive line coach Glen Elarbee.

Malzahn and Hand designed offenses together at Tulsa as co-coordinators. Hand is credited with implementing zone-read concepts with Malzahn’s Wing T spread attack. Tulsa led the nation in offense in both 2007 and 2008.

Despite the struggles of the offensive line since Hand took over as part of Franklin’s staff two years ago, Hand is still highly respected in the coaching world. Auburn and Malzahn having any interest may stem from the previous working relationships between the two, which always makes sense, but Hand’s previous experience in the SEC with Vanderbilt’s offensive line has shown some good promise. It also proves there is some reason to give Hand the benefit of the doubt with what he has had to work with on the offensive line at Penn State as the position has been gutted of depth during the abbreviated sanction phase with the program. Bill O’Brien could not do much to stock the offensive line with reduced scholarships, and the past two years showed just how much that hurt. The offensive line will improve, and if Hand ends up sticking around in Happy Valley then he will be praised for that.

It should be noted, Hand could probably be paid more if he moves to Auburn. Auburn was reportedly paying Grimes a total salary of $373, 500 with a max bonus of $50,000. Hand’s salary at Penn State is not on official record, although it is hardly a secret Penn State has traditionally not paid assistant coaches the same kind of money asistants at SEC schools may expect to receive.Auburn allocated an estimated $1.24 million to be used to pay its assistant staff in 2015. We can only guess how much Penn State pays its assistant coaches, but it is expected a handful of assistants were given some raises tthis week with the coaching adjustments recently announced. All things considered, Penn State is equipped to pay assistant coaches the kind of money Ohio State and Michiagn make available, and there is evidence the school has ponied up by managing to keep Shoop at Penn State and not leave for LSU a year ago. Shoop will be making $1.15 million per year on his three-year contract at Tennessee, which might give us an idea of where Penn State stands without any real confirmation.

But this will be the new norm for Penn State. Assistant coaches are always on the move in college football, and even more of them move than head coaches every offseason. And if they leave, that does not mean other good quality coaches will not be found.

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