As of Tuesday afternoon the Penn State coaching staff will be completely filled by guys picked by new head coach James Franklin. The coaching staff as a whole has been in a transition period since former head coach Bill O’Brien left to coach the Houston Texans of the NFL in late December. After O’Brien left, several of his staff members quickly exited the program as well. On Tuesday, tight ends coach John Strollo was hired by Ball State and offensive line coach Mac McWhorter was no longer listed as a Penn State staff member.
Ball State posted on its website on Tuesday that Strollo would be returning to the program. Before joining O’Brien at Penn State in 2012, Strollo spent the 2011 season as the offensive line coach at Ball State. He is now returning to that role with the Cardinals.
At Penn State, Strollo was in charge of the tight ends, an important position in O’Brien’s NFL-style passing attack. The group, highlighted in 2012 by Kyle Carter, Jesse James and Matt Lehman, led the nation with 83 receptions. Carter and James both received Freshman All-American honors and Carter was a first-team All-Big Ten selection.
This past season, true freshman Adam Breneman was added to the mix. He had a great first season, receiving True Freshman All-American Second Team honors by 247Sports. For the season, Breneman made 15 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns.
Strollo’s new employer, Ball State head coach Pete Lembo is thrilled to have his former offensive line coach back.
“John is an outstanding person and a tremendous offensive line coach,” Lembo says. “We are very fortunate to have him back. John has been and will continue to be a wonderful representative of our football program and this university. A significant part of our offense, both philosophically and technically, has been painted by John’s brush since 2008. I could not be happier for our players and staff that this has come to fruition.”
With Strollo gone, the only remaining coach at Penn State from O’Brien’s staff was McWhorter. However, it wasn’t expected that he would still be with the team. There’s no word as to McWhorter’s future plans.
Though not officially announced yet by Franklin, his offensive line coach at Vanderbilt, Herb Hand, will be following him to Happy Valley. Hand sent out a Tweet on Monday saying his goodbye to Vanderbilt.
— Herb Hand (@CoachHand) January 21, 2014
Franklin has been busy rounding out his staff, and an official announcement is expected soon. National Signing Day on February 5th is quickly approaching and recruits will want to know who their coaches are going to be.
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