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‘This is a Valuable Time’: Like With DC Manny Diaz, Penn State HC James Franklin Excited for new OC Andy Kotelnicki to Develop Bonds Before Bowl Game

Photo by Penn State Athletics

Penn State HC James Franklin spoke with the media Sunday, and it was his first media session since hiring former Kansas OC Andy Kotelnicki for the same position. 

Naturally, Franklin was asked why he made the move. 

Hiring Kotelnicki has been positively received by Penn State fans, media and the outside world. 

Over three seasons at Kansas, he helped turn one of the worst FBS offenses into one of the best. Kansas was outside of the top 100 in total offense in 2021. It improved to No. 6 the next season. This past campaign, Kansas played nine of its 12 regular-season games without starting QB Jalon Daniels. It still finished eighth in total offense. 

Franklin pointed out that Kotelnicki “has had experience, really, coaching almost every position on offense and coordinating from every position on offense.”

Kotelnicki has been coaching college football since 2004. Aside from two seasons as an offensive assistant at Western Illinois (2004-05), he’s exclusively been an offensive coordinator. 

Franklin said this experience will allow Kotelnicki to “float almost like an NFL coordinator, in some ways.”

“Him developing relationships (before the bowl game) and him being able to get a feel for our players,” Franklin said. “Our strengths and weaknesses, get a feel for our staff … and for him to see how we operate, how we’re organized and see what the culture is like … This is a valuable time.”

Franklin pointed out that Penn State’s defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz, had a similar situation when he was hired in 2021. 

Diaz came over in early December. He was with the team as it prepared for its Outback Bowl against Arkansas. 

This season, Diaz has coordinated the No. 1 total defense in America. 

“I thought it was really valuable for how we did it with Manny, allowed us to hit the ground running,” Franklin said.

Although Kotelnicki has been on the job for less than a week, Franklin said the two have “talked, gosh, I don’t know how many times and for how many hours. 

“And I think one of the things helpful for him as well as for me is it felt like we were both being very transparent in what he was looking for and what I thought we needed,” Franklin said. 

Kotelnicki was only with Kansas for three seasons. But he had been with KU coach Lance Leipold for 11. The two worked together at Wisconsin-Whitewater (2013-14) and Buffalo (2015-20) beforehand.

It would have took a big opportunity for Kotelnicki to leave Leipold and Kansas. That’s what Penn State is.

“For him to leave a program and a guy he had been with for 11 years and had a very, very secure contract, he had to feel good about what he was joining,” Franklin said. 

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