The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

‘We are here to elevate’: Moorhead introduced as MSU next head coach

Taylor Rayburn | Sports Editor

Joe Moorhead is MSU’s 33rd football head coach.

“We are not here to maintain, we are here to elevate,” Joe Moorhead said as Mississippi State University introduced Moorhead as its 33rd football head coach.
MSU President Mark Keenum and Athletic Director John Cohen showered Moorhead with high praise at the introductory press conference on Thursday morning.
“When people were describing Joe Moorhead to me, there is one word that kept coming up, time and time again, and to me that was most impressive,” Keenum said. “It was that Joe Moorhead was a man of integrity.”
“Everyone we talked to kept saying what an incredible, positive, figure this man has been in young men from all over the country,” Cohen said. “As the word got out that Joe (Moorhead) was going to become our head coach, he was getting texts from former players, parents from all over the country expressing love for him. His phone was exploding, and I can totally believe that. I can see he meant to those young men.”
Cohen said he asked Pennsylvania State University, where Moorhead worked as an offensive coordinator before taking the MSU job, head coach James Franklin about Moorhead.
“Coach Franklin said ‘John, this guy is a ball coach. This guy can coach any position on the field, we could put him on the defensive side of the football and at Penn State we would not miss a beat,’” Cohen said.
Cohen mentioned the importance of head coaching experience, something Moorhead has as he was the head coach at Fordham University from 2012 to 2015, where he went 38-13 as a head coach.

Blue-collar mentality on and off the field

“I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and my dad worked 35 years in a steel mill,” Moorhead said. “He worked three jobs to put two kids through college, and I really think in my formation as a person and what I stand for was understanding what a blue-collar work ethic meant.”
Moorhead plans on instilling that mentality into his team, not only on the field on Saturdays, but in the classroom, the practice field and all throughout life. Moorhead said being a football coach is being an educator and when players leave MSU they leave as a, “better student, a better player and a better person.”
He said he plans to have three pillars of success: accountability, productivity and persistence. He said accountability is about doing the little things on and off the field.
“Treating the guy that cleans up the floors the same way you treat the president of a school,” Moorhead said. “It is about treating women with respect like they are somebody’s mother, daughter, sister or wife and it is doing the little things all the time. Starting a drill behind the line means your hand is not on the line, it is not close to the line, it is behind the line.”
Moorehead said doing the little things is how you win games, even if at a disadvantage.
“If you look at the game of football, every Friday, every Saturday and every Sunday, it happens, a team with less talent beats a team with more talent because a team that does the little things right is the team that wins,” Moorhead said. “I promise you we’re going to be a football team that doesn’t cut corners, and we’re going to do the little things right.”
He said if he can trust players to do the right thing off the field, he can trust them to do the right things on the field.
“If I can trust you to go to class, I trust you to run the right route,” Moorhead said. “If I can trust you to treat people with respect, I can trust you to throw the ball to the right person. We are going to win through three things: talent, which we have an abundance of, culture, which we are going to make sure we put our kids in and do the right thing and lastly coaching, which means we make sure we put them in a position to be successful.”
On productivity he said, “life is not about trying hard, washing machines try hard. It is about doing things to the best of your ability.”
“If you are an A student, I expect you to get As, if you are a B students, I expect you to get Bs, if you are a C student and that is the best you can do I expect you get Cs,” Moorhead said. “If you are a walk-on player, you are going to know your role and do your job, just like everyone else int the program, and be the best walk-on you can be. If you are an All-SEC caliber player, I expect you to do that. If you are the best player in the country, I expect you to play like that.”
On persistence he said, “We are going to finish everything we do, we are going to fight, tooth and nail. We are going to scratch and claw and we going to make sure everyone understands when you step on the field with the Mississippi State Bulldogs you are in for a 15-round fight and we are not stopping till the bell rings.”

Moorhead’s goals at MSU

Moorhead said his first goal at MSU is to graduate 100 percent of this players, and give them the tools to be productive citizens. His second goal is to win the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss, something MSU failed to do on Thanksgiving, falling by a score of 31-28.
“I have had two conversations with President Keenum and they have been fantastic, but at the very end of it he made it crystal clear,” Moorhead said. “I understand the importance now of keeping that trophy at home.”
He said his next goal was to make sure MSU qualifies for a bowl game, the next one was to win the SEC West and then win the SEC. He followed by saying, “Our finally goal is to win a national championship.”
To many that could sound unachievable at a school with a poor history like MSU, but Moorhead reiterated something he told his Penn State players when he got there and turned around their offense.
“I am not here to harp on our past, I am here to create our future,” Moorhead said. “No one rises to low expectations.”

Moorhead with an aggressive gameplan philosophy

Moorhead said they plan on attacking on offense, defense and special teams.
“We are going to be a team that does not allow the other team to dictate the tempo of the game to us,” Moorhead said. “We are going to dictate what we do.”
Moorhead said attitude will reflect leadership and they as a staff will be demanding without demeaning.
Moorhead’s philosophy can be seen in his offense at Penn State. The year before he ran the Penn State offense, they finished 93rd in the county in total offense. They moved up to 28th in the country, this past season they are ranked 26 in total offense but are ranked seventh in the country in total offense.
Moorhead is nationally renowned as an offensive playcaller, known for taking deep shots down the field, but said at MSU he plans on running the football.
“First and foremost we will be a team that runs the ball successfully,” Moorhead said.
MSU back-up running back Kylin Hill smiled as he talked about being able to play in Moorhead’s innovative offense.
“I know the entire offense is ready to go,” Hill said. “They were very excited about this hire, we were just looking at the team stats and the way they used their running backs and wide receivers, even the tight ends and guys are excited.”
LINK: Listen here to hear about Moorhead from a Penn State beat writer.

Moorhead’s contract and adding staff

Less than two days in as head coach, Moorhead has added someone to his staff, bringing Penn State running back coach Charles Huff for the same position as well as making him co-offensive coordinator, according to a Chris Vannini report.
While Moorhead will hire co-offensive coordinators to help, he said he will be the one doing the offensive play calling.
“Joe said, “Hey what you’re offering me is great, here is what is important to me. I want to take care of our staff and make sure we have the best football staff in America, that is what is important to me’,” Cohen said.
Moorhead is on a much lighter contract compared to the close to $5 million a year Dan Mullen reportedly made.
Moorhead is set to make 11 million dollars over four years, making 2.6 million in the first and gains a million each year, with him set to make 2.9 million in the fourth year.
The contract is heavy with performance incentives, with most notable being $200,000 for winning the SEC championship and 1 million dollars for winning a national title. He also has the opportunity to make an extra $50,000 if named SEC Coach of the Year or $100,000 if named national coach of the year.

Moorhead embracing Starkville

Moorhead quickly thanked MSU fans when he got to the podium, and said how this was his family’s first extended journey into the south.
Moorhead landed in Starkville around 4 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, where he was greeted by fans.
“When you hear the term Southern Hospitality, we found out that that is real and true,” Moorhead said. “We got off the plane yesterday and we met with a crowd that had to seem one or 2,000 people yesterday, must have signed 500 cowbells.”
That was not the only meet and greet Moorhead participated in on Wednesday. After meeting the fans at large at the airport, he spent Wednesday night handing out free cheese fries at the Bin 612 in the Cotton District, where he met many MSU students.
“It was interesting. There was a lot of support, a lot of selfies, a lot of high fives, a lot of cheese fries and the kids seemed like they were having a heck of a time down there,” Moorhead said.
Moorhead also met with the MSU football team for the first time Thursday morning, a meeting Cohen said went very well.
“It is the best first meeting of a team I have ever been around in 25 years of intercollegiate athletics,” Cohen said. “I think every football player in that room will back me up on that.”
Cohen raved about the way fans have accepted the hire.
“I cannot tell you what it means to me the confidence that has been bestowed upon me by the MIssissippi State family,” Cohen said.
Moorhead said he is undecided if his family will move down now or after the spring school semester, but they had plans to go house hunting on Thursday.
Moorhead will not coach the bowl game, but will evaluate the team. He will also be recruiting in the next few weeks.
He will have next spring to install his offense before MSU opens up their season on Sept. 1, when MSU takes on Stephen F. Austin University.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Reflector

Your donation will support the student journalists of Mississippi State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Reflector

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
‘We are here to elevate’: Moorhead introduced as MSU next head coach