Penn State hires offensive line coach Matt Limegrover
January 13, 2016 3:24 PM
New Penn State offensive line coach Matt Limegrover, a Pittsburgh Central Catholic graduate.
By Audrey Snyder / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — James Franklin filled one coaching vacancy on his staff Wednesday afternoon, announcing the hiring of former Minnesota offensive line coach Matt Limegrover.
Limegrover, a Central Catholic graduate, also served as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the Gophers, roles he held at various times between the 2011-15 seasons. He was let go in late November when Minnesota head coach Tracy Claeys reshuffled his staff.
“I am both humbled and honored to join coach Franklin’s staff and coach at Penn State,” Limegrover said in a statement. “Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I have been a Penn State fan my entire life and to now have the opportunity to coach there is overwhelming. I can’t wait to get there and start working on building an offensive line to help this program become a championship team.”
Limegrover will be put to the test, working with an offensive line that allowed 83 sacks in the past two seasons. Rebuilding the line, a unit that was impacted by depth issues stemming from NCAA scholarship limitations because of sanctions and then compounded by injuries, has been a focal point for the Nittany Lions since Franklin arrived two years ago. Penn State has 15 scholarship offensive linemen for Limegrover to begin working with this offseason.
Herb Hand, who coached with Franklin the past five seasons, left Monday to take a job coaching Auburn’s offensive linemen.
“We are really excited to have Matt join our staff,” Franklin said in a statement. “He is another Pennsylvania guy, born and raised in Pittsburgh, so he is very familiar with Penn State and this region. He brings a wealth of knowledge and a ton of great experience, both as an offensive line coach and as an offensive coordinator. The numbers that his offenses have put up speak for themselves. As great of a coach as Matt is, he is an even better man.”
Limegrover worked under former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill for 16 seasons, including stints at Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois, Emporia State and Minnesota.
Penn State hired another Central Catholic alum last month when Franklin named former Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead offensive coordinator. Cornerbacks coach Terry Smith, the former Gateway High School football coach who also is the Lions’ assistant head coach and defensive recruiting coordinator, also helps bolster the program’s ties to the Pittsburgh area.
Franklin has one more vacancy to fill, but the Limegrover move should conclude the coaching changes for the offense.
NOTE — Running back Akeel Lynch announced his plans to play his final year of eligibility elsewhere and will transfer after finishing his degree this spring. The Lions’ No. 2 running back had 55 carries for 282 yards and 2 touchdowns this past season, but with freshman Saquon Barkley ahead of him on the depth chart and young talent behind him, including redshirt freshman Andre Robinson and 2016 recruit Miles Sanders, Lynch will improve his stock elsewhere.
“This has been tough on me because Penn State provided me a home for the past four years, even when times were tough,” Lynch said via a statement on his Twitter account.
No. 22, the number worn by former Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti, who allowed Lynch to be the final person to wear it, can now be retired. Lynch is the fifth scholarship player since Monday to announce a transfer, joining linebacker Troy Reeder, receiver Geno Lewis, reserve linebacker Gary Wooten Jr. and reserve cornerback Daquan Worley.
Audrey Snyder: email@example.com and Twitter @audsnyder4.
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