Change is coming to the Big Ten, that much is inevitable. Penn State has UCLA, USC, and Washington on its 2024 schedule to prove it. There is also change coming to the Penn State football program on both sides of the ball and that starts with spring practices.
James Franklin had to hire two new coordinators this offseason and Andy Kotelnicki and Tom Allen will have their first chance to install their system when spring practices begin on Tuesday, March 12.
After the 24-15 loss to the eventual national champions, Penn State fired offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich who was the team’s playcaller since 2021. Yurcich was replaced by Kotelnicki, who coordinated Kansas’s offense last season.
Kotelnicki did not install his offense during the bowl practices, instead, James Franklin allowed Ty Howle and Ja’Juan Seider to continue to function as interim co-offensive coordinators while Kotelnicki observed. The Nittany Lions struggled on offense in a Peach Bowl loss to Ole Miss, so Kotelnicki’s offense will be a welcome change.
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz left for a different reason. After coaching the No. 1 defense in the country, Diaz left to become the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils, a job that came open after Mike Elko was hired by Texas A&M.
Diaz was a beneficiary of the coaching carousel, but Allen was one of its victims. Allen was fired by Indiana after seven seasons as the team’s head coach. Franklin, who has struggled against Allen’s defenses, most notably in a 2020 loss to Michael Penix Jr. and Indiana, quickly hired him to replace Diaz.