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In their words: Former players, coaches chime in on Penn State coordinator Joe Moorhead

Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead -- who was hired two weeks ago -- sure has his work cut out for him.

He’s inheriting a unit ranked No. 106 in total offense, No. 101 in scoring offense and No. 125 in third-down offense. So is the former Fordham head coach ready for the challenge? And what should Penn State fans and future Big Ten opponents expect out of him?

Here’s what former colleagues and players had to say:

On Moorhead’s offense:

“As a player, I love being in the system. Some people may call it simplistic, but I think it’s because we found out what was working against opponents -- and why stop doing what’s working? He just throws defenses off because he’ll change tempos. ... If you watch our highlights, we’d have people wide open or I’d be wide open right out of the backfield. If you’re wondering why, it’s because coach Moorhead just gets us in the right looks.”

-- Chase Edmonds, Fordham running back, played under Moorhead the past two seasons

“He keeps it very simple, but he’s good at taking what the defense gives him and then manipulating our plays around to attack it in the best way. He’s unbelievable on the sidelines making adjustments and what the best play to get in and attack the defense is. It’s a very fun offense to be a part of.”

-- Michael Nebrich, former Fordham quarterback, played under Moorhead at UConn and Fordham from 2011-14

“I think the beauty is in the simplicity. The key is to get your athletes in space. At the end of the day, you've just got to fall back on the fact you did your job in recruiting and, when you put your skill guys in one-on-one situations, they’re going to be successful.”

-- Andrew Breiner, Fordham head coach, assistant coach under Moorhead at both UConn and Fordham from 2009-15

On Moorhead’s personality as a coach:

“I love the guy. I’ve been in an athletic department for a little over 25 years, and he’s as fine a coach and person I’ve worked with. ... He has what I call the ‘X factor.’ He knows the game, knows how to motivate students, knows how to recruit, knows how to deal with alumni. It’s something that I can’t necessarily explain, but I feel it. If anyone’s got it, it’s Joe Moorhead.”

-- David Roach, Fordham athletic director

“He’s a players’ coach because he feels it with us. When we’re competing and we’re going through it together, he’s easy to approach and talk to. He’s a coach you can relate to, someone who’s done it before, and he’s just someone you want to work for.”

-- Jordan Todman, Pittsburgh Steelers running back, played under Moorhead at UConn from 2009-2010

“He does a great job figuring out each player’s needs, how to best coach them and how to get the most out of them individually. Some coaches have just one philosophy to get an entire team to perform well, and that doesn’t work because each player is unique. He knows what each player needs; that’s what really drew me toward him.”

-- Nebrich

On Moorhead finally moving up to a major program:

“Actually, I thought it was going to happen much sooner. With the direction he took, the opportunities just didn’t come up to be a head coach. It’s very rare to be in that kind of situation. People don’t give him enough credit for what he did in just a couple short years. It’s one of those things. You have a very talented guy and maybe he’s not a name that people would just fall in love with but, when you do this for a living, does the guy have a great work ethic? Does he get along with people, and does he produce? This should’ve happened a long time ago.”

-- Todd Orlando, Houston Cougars defensive coordinator, longtime friend who also coached with Moorhead at UConn from 2009-2010

“I’m not surprised because of what I know he can do and what he brought to UConn, with having us in the Papa John’s Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. We still got group chats with people I played with at UConn, and we all agreed it was a great fit.”

-- Todman

“Coach Moorhead deserves the opportunity. And I knew the day would come when he’d have a great opportunity to coach a team like Penn State. But, as a team, honestly, it’s disheartening losing your head coach -- a coach that everyone’s just so close to and just turned the program around. But I wish him all the best.”

-- Edmonds