Football ushers in the Joe Moorhead Era
Hundreds of fans greeted Joe Moorhead upon his arrival to Starkville Wednesday [November 29], and a new era of Mississippi State football was ushered in at the 44-year-old's introductory press conference on Thursday [November 30] at the Leo Seal Jr. Football Complex.
Moorhead, the 33rd head coach in MSU football history, met with his new team on Thursday morning before joining his family, MSU President Mark E. Keenum and Director of Athletics John Cohen at the press conference.
"We're going to be the most precise team in the country, and we're going to do it with three things: purpose, passion and a blue-collar work ethic," Moorhead said.
"In terms of philosophies -- offense, defense and special teams -- we're going to attack. We're going to be a team that is not going to allow the other side of the ball to dictate the tempo to us. We're going to dictate what we do," he explained.
He takes over a loaded roster of talent that will be coming off its eight straight bowl appearance.
Moorhead was the 2016 National Offensive Coordinator of the Year and the mastermind behind Penn State's offensive juggernaut the past two seasons.
"During our search, it became unequivocally clear who our next football coach was and that man was Joe Moorhead," Cohen said.
"Joe is a winner, a man of integrity with a blue-collar work ethic and an ability to motivate others that our student-athletes will gravitate to. His innovative offensive philosophy is a perfect fit for our program and will keep us on a path to competing for championships. I was also impressed with his detailed defensive plan. He will demand excellence on and off the field and maximize the resources we have to continue to be successful in the SEC. We are proud to welcome Joe, his wife Jennifer, his daughter Kyra and sons Mason and Donovan to the Bulldog Family," he said.
Moorhead, 44, arrives in Starkville after spending the 2016 and 2017 seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on James Franklin's Penn State staff. Tabbed as Sports Illustrated and Yahoo's No. 1 rising assistant in college football in August 2017, Moorhead transformed the Nittany Lions offensively and spearheaded them to a combined 21-5 record, a 17-3 mark in Big Ten regular season play and the 2016 Big Ten Championship.
Explosive, balanced offenses have been a trademark of Moorhead at every stop of his career. Penn State scored at least 30 points in 21 of the 26 games he coached, and they averaged 39.4 points per game during that span.
This season, Penn State ranked in the Top 25 nationally in five different offensive categories, including seventh in points per game (41.6), 16th in passing efficiency (153.5), 17th in yards per play (6.55), 25th in passing yards per game (285.8) and 20th in red zone conversion percentage (91.1). They also produced four 50-point games, representing the most in a Nittany Lions season since 1994.
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