Oregon hires ex-Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead as offensive coordinator

Sam Cooper

Oregon has found its new offensive coordinator.

The school announced Tuesday that Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal has brought in in former Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead to run his offense in Eugene. Moorhead was fired Jan. 3 after just two seasons in Starkville. He had a 14-12 record (7-9 SEC) with the Bulldogs.

At Oregon, Moorhead will replace Marcus Arroyo, who left the program to become the head coach at UNLV. Moorhead has a strong track record as an offensive coordinator. He most notably helped transform the offense at Penn State, helping the Nittany Lions win the Big Ten title and go to the Rose Bowl in 2016 and win the Fiesta Bowl in 2017.

“I've admired Joe's offensive philosophy and ability as a play caller from afar, and after meeting with him I was even more impressed,” Cristobal said. “He is a great teacher and communicator, and instills confidence and belief in his players. His offenses have been explosive, balanced, multiple and creative. More importantly, he's a great man, father and husband who our players and staff will enjoy working with."

Former Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead is reportedly Oregon's new offensive coordinator. (AP Photo/Chuck Cook)
Former Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead is reportedly Oregon's new offensive coordinator. (AP Photo/Chuck Cook)

Under Moorhead’s watch, Penn State improved from 23.2 points per game (No. 100 nationally) to 37.6 points (No. 21) in his first season and then up to 41.1 points per game (No. 6) in his second season. PSU, led by quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley, broke single-season school records for total offense, passing yards and points scored with Moorhead as offensive coordinator.

His performance at Penn State, plus his successful four-year run as the head coach at Fordham, helped Moorhead get the Mississippi State job after Dan Mullen left for Florida. Ultimately, the school determined that Moorhead wasn’t a good fit and fired him after a loss to Louisville in the Music City Bowl. MSU subsequently hired Mike Leach from Washington State.

At Oregon, Moorhead joins a program that is coming off a Pac-12 title and win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks return a ton of talent next season and could be considered the favorite to win the conference again, but also have to replace four-year starting quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert threw for more than 10,000 yards at Oregon and is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft.

“I'm extremely excited and very appreciative of Coach Cristobal for this opportunity,” Moorhead said. “I'm looking forward to helping build on the great success the program has already had and I can't wait to experience game day in Autzen Stadium.”

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