Now that Brent Pry’s move to Virginia Tech is official, speculation for who will be Penn State’s next defensive coordinator has begun.
The football program has options internally, such as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Anthony Poindexter and some outside options.
In a tweet by NFL Insider Matt Lombardo, Sean Spencer and Elijah Robinson– both with ties to Penn State– were mentioned as candidates to replace Pry.
Spencer, currently the New York Giants’ defensive line coach, knows the Penn State program and James Franklin in particular, quite well. Like Pry, he worked with Franklin at Vanderbilt from 2011-13. Spencer was the defensive line coach at Vandy for all three of Franklin’s years as head coach and took on the same position in State College when Franklin got the Penn State job before the 2014 season. Spencer was the Nittany Lions defensive line coach from 2014-17 and added the title of associate head coach for the next two years before moving on to the NFL before the 2020 season.
Robinson, currently Texas A&M’s defensive line coach, has been with the Aggies since Jimbo Fisher began his tenure in 2018. Before that, he spent a year coaching the D-Line at Baylor and three years in the same position at Temple, where he was also the run game coordinator for the 2016 season.
Robinson is a graduate of Penn State, playing for Joe Paterno from 2004-08 and working as a graduate assistant on Paterno’s staff from 2009-11. When Bill O’Brien took over as head coach, Robinson stayed with Penn State as Director of Community Relations for the 2012 and ’13 seasons before moving on to Temple and working for current Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule.
Robinson, just 36, has developed a reputation as a recruiter. Defensive tackle Walter Nolan, the No. 1 player in the class of 2022, is committed to Texas A&M.