Kirk Ciarocca taking OC job at Penn St

John Galt

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Please stop quoting KC from his press release at PSU on why he went to PSU as fact of why he went to PSU. It may be, it may not be. 50/50 chance, really.
Thanks ray of sunshine. We all suspected, as you brilliantly point out, that something else was going on behind the scenes. Maybe Kirk secretly hated PJ despite coaching with him for 7 years, following him here from Western Michigan, and turning down Auburn and West Virginia the past 2 years. I’m sure the odds are 50:50 about him being a PSU fan as a kid and he just had to get away...
 

short ornery norwegian

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Worth noting - I believe Fleck has said that Franklin is one of his closest friends in the coaching community. That makes me tend to believe that the two coaches talked about this before it became public. As a HC, you don't take a coordinator away from a good friend's team without at least giving him a heads-up.

Now, if they didn't talk about it ahead of time, that would be a very different - and interesting - story.
 

scools12

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Please stop quoting KC from his press release at PSU on why he went to PSU as fact of why he went to PSU. It may be, it may not be. 50/50 chance, really.
"I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to work at a program as rich in tradition as Penn State University,” Ciarrocca said. “It is an honor and a privilege to join Coach Franklin’s staff and to work alongside such a successful head football coach. Having grown up a Penn State fan, I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as your offensive coordinator. My family and I are overjoyed to be coming home to Happy Valley."
 

nitramnaed

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Worth noting - I believe Fleck has said that Franklin is one of his closest friends in the coaching community. That makes me tend to believe that the two coaches talked about this before it became public. As a HC, you don't take a coordinator away from a good friend's team without at least giving him a heads-up.

Now, if they didn't talk about it ahead of time, that would be a very different - and interesting - story.
Agreed. I can't believe that Franklin just sprang this on him via press relaease.
Ski-U-Mah!
 

PitinoFan

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I think this was done at least a couple weeks ago. Notice Kirk hasn’t tweeted anything Gopher football related since 12/5. He last liked a Gopher football related tweet on 12/12, and that was about Casey O’Brien. Prior to that, 12/5. He’s not the most active on Twitter to begin with, but there’s zero activity on his account about the 2020 class.
 

GopherBulldog

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Here's the PSU Press Release, with said requested quote:

Ciarrocca Named Penn State Offensive Coordinator
Pennsylvania native is a veteran offensive coordinator with championship pedigree

ARLINGTON, Texas – Penn State football head coach James Franklin named Kirk Ciarrocca (pronounced shuh-ROCK-uh) offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Thursday. Ciarrocca comes to Happy Valley with 18 years of experience as an offensive coordinator, most recently at the University of Minnesota.

“We couldn’t be more excited to bring in someone of Kirk’s caliber to our Penn State football family,” Franklin said. “He is a veteran coordinator who also has deep Pennsylvania roots and ties. His most recent successes as an offensive coordinator caught our eye. What impressed me most about Kirk in the hiring process was his humility and his willingness to make this an easy transition for our players. We are thrilled to welcome Kirk and his family home to Pennsylvania and to Happy Valley!”

"I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to work at a program as rich in tradition as Penn State University,” Ciarrocca said. “It is an honor and a privilege to join Coach Franklin’s staff and to work alongside such a successful head football coach. Having grown up a Penn State fan, I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as your offensive coordinator. My family and I are overjoyed to be coming home to Happy Valley."

Ciarrocca spent the last three seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Minnesota. During his time with the Golden Gophers, the offense put up impressive numbers, including a record-breaking season for quarterback Tanner Morgan in 2019.

In 2019, the Golden Gophers posted a 10-win regular season for the first time since 1905, thanks in part to the third-highest scoring offense in program history and the second-most passing yards in a season by the Gophers. Ciarrocca was selected as a semifinalist for the 2019 Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant coach.

Golden Gopher quarterback Tanner Morgan set program records for season passing yards, season touchdown passes and consecutive games with a touchdown pass on the way to second-team All-Big Ten accolades this season. The Gophers also touted a pair of 1,000-yard wide receivers in All-American and Big Ten Receiver of the Year Rashod Bateman and All-Big Ten first team honoree Tyler Johnson. Morgan was a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s top quarterback, while Bateman was a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award for the best wide receiver in the country.

Prior to his time at Minnesota, Ciarrocca was the offensive coordinator at Western Michigan for four seasons. In his time with the Broncos, Ciarrocca’s offense set records for points, total yards and touchdowns in 2015, only to break those same records against in 2016. The Broncos finished ninth in FBS in points per game (41.57) as they won the MAC and earned a spot in the Cotton Bowl Classic with a 13-1 record in 2016. Ciarrocca coached the 2016 MAC Offensive Player of the Year and NCAA Consensus All-American in wide receiver Corey Davis, as well as 2016 William V. Campbell Trophy winner in quarterback Zach Terrell.

Before moving to Western Michigan, Ciarrocca had stints at Delaware (2012 – running backs), Richmond (2011 – quarterbacks) and Rutgers (2008-10 – co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks).

In a six-year tour as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Delaware from 2002-07, Ciarrocca helped guide the Blue Hens to the National Championship in 2003 and mentored Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco. In addition, the 2007 Blue Hen offense ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring, total offense, passing offense, third down conversion and red zone offense. He had a pair of quarterbacks drafted into the NFL during his first stint with the Blue Hens.

Ciarrocca also had stops at Penn (2000-01 – wide receivers), Princeton (1996-99 – wide receivers), Western Connecticut State (1994-95 – offensive coordinator/quarterbacks/wide receivers; 1992 – passing game coordinator/wide receivers), Delaware Valley College (passing game coordinator/wide receivers) and Temple (1990-91 – graduate assistant). During his time at Penn, the Quakers won the 2000 Ivy League championship.

A native of Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, Ciarrocca was a defensive back at Juniata College in Pennsylvania before moving on to Temple where he graduated in 1990.

Ciarrocca and his wife Kim have a daughter, Colby, and a son, Cade.
Just based on the press release, I’d say this smells like something that KC, PJ and Franklin discussed at length. I would not be surprised if PJ was given the courtesy of seeing the release before it went out. All the quotes focus on tradition, home, KC being a fan of Penn State growing up. You never really know what was going on behind the scenes, but if this was not a planned and amicable departure I would have expected the PR around it to be much more focused on winning future championships, excitement about grooming current and future players, etc. Feels like a personal move that was stewarded as elegantly as possible between the parties. Still, very sad to see KC go to another B1G team and PJ has some major shoes to fill.
 

PhillyGopher

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Funny to read the spin like everything will be just fine. KC was the head coach of the offense. PJF relies way too much on coordinators with no system of his own. He’s hired one OC, so there is no way to know he will make a “great” hire.
I agree completely - it was so much better when no one wanted our coordinators
 

PitinoFan

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Confirmed: Kirk was not on the flight to Tampa. He’s in Dallas helping Penn State prepare for their bowl game.
 
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I am sad that Ciarrocca is leaving and especially sad that it is to a conference rival. If there is a positive, it's that the Gophers OC spot is a far more attractive job right now than at any time since possibly when Lou Holtz came in. If Fleck and the U of M are looking to get an outside candidate rather than promoting from within, the group of potential hires should be pretty solid.
 

Great Plains Gopher

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The only thing I thought KC could have done better was the short yardage/goal line offense with Seth Green at QB. Never understood why they didn't have a pass play to a TE or WR. Might have come in handy on a 4th and 2 from the 35-yard line.
Green did throw for a TD in that situation at least once - but was it last year? Throwing to a big tight end in the red zone almost always makes sense, if he can catch the ball.
 

PJparty

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I think this was done at least a couple weeks ago. Notice Kirk hasn’t tweeted anything Gopher football related since 12/5. He last liked a Gopher football related tweet on 12/12, and that was about Casey O’Brien. Prior to that, 12/5. He’s not the most active on Twitter to begin with, but there’s zero activity on his account about the 2020 class.
Finally. I have been waiting for the Twitter analytics!
 

Pompous Elitist

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Thanks ray of sunshine. We all suspected, as you brilliantly point out, that something else was going on behind the scenes. Maybe Kirk secretly hated PJ despite coaching with him for 7 years, following him here from Western Michigan, and turning down Auburn and West Virginia the past 2 years. I’m sure the odds are 50:50 about him being a PSU fan as a kid and he just had to get away...
Doubtful he ”hated“ Fleck but I cringed this fall when PJF repeatedly brought up Kirk’s quieter personality, locking himself in the film room etc etc. Even when something may be true nobody likes to have other’s point out their perceived weaknesses and some may be more sensitive about those than others... PJF certainly will grate on some people at times when the oil and water personalities have to work together. It can work...for a time.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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Big loss.

Makes me worry about all sorts of things when it comes to keeping the program running at a high level.
 

HoustonTXGopher

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Do I really need to remind everyone that KC's offense scored 19 points against Iowa and only 17 points against Wisconsin? You will also recall that we struggled against SDSU and needed overtime to beat a bad FSU team.

I won't sit here and try to persuade you that KC was an average OC, but he was an average OC.

We have had a great year, but the truth is real....the level of competition we faced this year was certainly subpar with the exception of PSU, Iowa and Wisconsin. Great win against PSU, but our offense let us down against both Iowa and Wisconsin when we had opportunities sitting right in front of us to win both those games, especially the Iowa game. That play calling to start the fourth quarter against Wisconsin was atrocious and kept us from getting back in that game.

Fleck will hire a bright and energetic new coordinator that will quickly fade our memories of Kirk, I am certain of it.
 

FredCoxRocks

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Right now Pat Freiermuth is wondering if it’s too late to change his mind and re-declare for the draft.
 

howeda7

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It's never good to lose a coordinator to a rival. But this offense is good because it has really, really good players at key spots. This is not a case of a brilliant OC working magic with an average group.
 

dave444

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its a compliment to Fleck that guys are moving on. Remember Alvarez was Holtz coordinator (defensive) before going to Wi. Coaches move on from good programs that's the way it is
 

MplsGopher

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Right now Pat Freiermuth is wondering if it’s too late to change his mind and re-declare for the draft.
I truly hope that Franklin “laid down the law” about how far KC would be allowed to implement his philosophy. You don’t just throw NFL caliber TE because you don’t like that position as a pass catching, play making position.
 

Pompous Elitist

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It's never good to lose a coordinator to a rival. But this offense is good because it has really, really good players at key spots. This is not a case of a brilliant OC working magic with an average group.
This is true but recognizing the talent and cultivating it may or may not have been Ciarrocca’s work. Some seem better at this than others. Always hard to say who or what gets most credit for success or failure.
 

John Galt

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Doubtful he ”hated“ Fleck but I cringed this fall when PJF repeatedly brought up Kirk’s quieter personality, locking himself in the film room etc etc. Even when something may be true nobody likes to have other’s point out their perceived weaknesses and some may be more sensitive about those than others... PJF certainly will grate on some people at times when the oil and water personalities have to work together. It can work...for a time.
Kirk was with PJ for 7 years and stayed despite numerous other opportunities. If you want to speculate about someone not getting along with PJ, Marcus West, Jim Panagos, Jahmile Addae and a few others would be much better rumor options.
 

John Galt

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It's never good to lose a coordinator to a rival. But this offense is good because it has really, really good players at key spots. This is not a case of a brilliant OC working magic with an average group.
This is a good take but I think Morgan is the exception. He wasn’t a “can’t miss” prospect and by all accounts Kirk did a great job coaching him up. We may end up missing his QB coaching more than his play calling.
 
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