MOBILE, Ala. — Penn State defensive back Marcus Allen remembers a time when Joe Moorhead couldn’t get the job done. Hired from Fordham in late 2015, Moorhead was charged with rebuilding a stagnant Nittany Lions offense, and the unit was having a rough practice.
Allen and the rest of the defense celebrated each big play with gusto. Moorhead noticed.
“I like that. I like you guys celebrating,” he said. “It won’t last for long. So enjoy it.”
Soon, Penn State boasted one of the best offenses in the country. Moorhead’s no-huddle spread created stars out of quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley. In 2016, PSU averaged 37.6 points per game. This past autumn, it was 41.7.
That output got Moorhead the gig as Mississippi State coach, and his former players see plenty of hardware in his future.
“He’s gonna bring them a championship,” Allen told SEC Country during Senior Bowl media availability on Tuesday. “He’s very intelligent. He knows the game of football. They definitely have a great coach over there.”
Moorhead and confidence go hand in hand. As soon as he stepped off the plane in Starkville, he told his players he needed their ring sizes in anticipation of a championship. Mike Gesicki, a Penn State tight end, heard that comment and smiled.
“Talk about confidence,” Gesicki said. “When it comes to football, man, he’s a genius … Joe Moorhead is the absolute man. I’m really happy for him to have that job. He deserves it more than anybody. He came to Penn State and really turned our offense around in less than two years.”
Gesicki agreed with Allen, his teammate, that folks in Starkville should get their hopes sky high.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see some championships coming to Mississippi State because that’s the type of atmosphere he creates and the type of confidence he instills in his players,” Gesicki said. “And once they believe in it, you never know what can happen.”