New Penn State coordinator on CBS Sports’ list of most consequential offseason hires

Penn State is going into the next football season with two new coordinators. Tom Allen, the former Indiana head coach on the defensive side, and former Kansas offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki to run the offense.

The latter has been tied to Kansas head coach Lance Leipold throughout his career and is now tasked with resurrecting an offense with talent but one that underperformed mightily a season ago.

CBS Sports’ David Cobb listed Kotelnicki seventh in his ten most consequential coordinator hires ahead of the 2024 college football season made during the offseason. Six out of the ten coaches on Cobb’s list are Big Ten coaches, making many teams in the reconfigured Big Ten on the short list of teams to watch this upcoming season.

Cobb notes that Kotelnicki has a tall task ahead of him and a significant amount of pressure to improve a unit that was not dynamic enough last year.

After more than a decade of working exclusively with Lance Leipold, Kotelnicki will be asked to mesh with 11th-year Penn State coach James Franklin and unlock the Nittany Lions’ offensive potential. Penn State is replacing both coordinators — Tom Allen is also stepping in for DC Manny Diaz, who accepted the Duke job — but the offense will be more closely scrutinized after a lack of explosiveness kept it from reaching its full potential in 2023. The Nittany Lions tied for 116th in plays of 25-plus yards last season with just 26. Kotelnicki’s offense at Kansas ranked No. 23 nationally with 50 plays of 25-plus yards, even while running the football far more often than throwing it. In theory, hiring Kotelnicki will allow Penn State to get more offensively dynamic while keeping its defensive identity and run-first ethos.

The word “unlock” strikes a chord with many Penn State fans. It seemed like the talent was there last year, but the production and consistency were severely lacking. Kotelnicki now has the pieces to run a high-powered offense, and his calling card of explosive plays while committing himself to running the ball seems to line up with what James Franklin is looking for in his offense.

Without a doubt, Kotelnicki has his work cut out for him despite the talent, and all eyes will be on him to bring Penn State’s offense to a similar level as its defense.

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Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire