Penn State’s coaching staff is going through some changes this offseason. With a few of James Franklin’s staff members taking on new jobs, the Nittany Lions leader has been forced to fill a few vacancies over the last two months.
Two of the most notable changes come at offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. Both Ricky Rahne and Gerad Parker left State College for new jobs, creating some gaps on the staff. But Franklin worked fast, filling those roles by adding Kirk Ciarrocca from Minnesota as the offensive coordinator and Taylor Stubblefield — formerly at Miami — as the receivers coach.
Those were some big additions for Franklin, especially has he hopes to see more consistency offensively next season. Specifically, Franklin wants to see the passing attack be more effective.
According to Audrey Snyder of The Athletic, Franklin told the media during his press conference on Wednesday that he’d like to see “more production, no doubt about it,” from the wide receiver position. He also added that the passing game “has to be more consistent” next fall.
“We have to throw and catch for a higher percentage,” Franklin said.
Penn State ranked eighth in the B1G in completion percentage a year ago, hitting targets 58.8 percent of the time. The Nittany Lions completed less than 50 percent of their passes twice last season (Pitt and Indiana) and never hit over the 60-percent mark after a 35-7 win over Purdue — the fifth game of the season.
Penn State still managed to win 11 games, but if the offense can be more consistent and accurate in the passing attack, the Nittany Lions can own of the top offensive teams in the country next season and compete for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Sean Clifford returns under center, and Penn State has some solid targets in the passing game with tight end Pat Freiermuth and receiver Jahan Dotson back, but there are some big shoes to fill with KJ Hamler gone.
Expect that to be a focal point for the Nittany Lions leading up to next season.