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Long time Penn State assistant won’t be part of James Franklin’s staff, may be heading to Ohio State

larry johnson AP

Long-time Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson has decided to leave the Nittany Lion program despite being offered a chance to stay on in his current role by new head coach James Franklin, reported on Monday.

Johnson, 61, has been at PSU since 1996. He coached special teams and defensive ends before becoming the defensive line coach in 2000. He served as Penn State’s interim head coach after Bill O’Brien left in December to become coach of the Houston Texans.

Courtney Brown, Michael Haynes, Jimmy Kennedy, and Tamba Hali are among the all-stars Johnson coached while at Penn State.

“This is not the end for me, it’s just the end of my time at Penn State,” Johnson said. “There is a lot left for me to do with football and I am not done. I am just thankful for the time I had at Penn State and with my players.”

Psst. Hey, coach. We hear USC has an opening.

UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. Sports Illustrated is reporting on Monday night that Johnson is in the process of finalizing a deal with Ohio State. He would replace Mike Vrabel, who left the Buckeyes to take a job with the Houston Texans.

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21 Responses to “Long time Penn State assistant won’t be part of James Franklin’s staff, may be heading to Ohio State”
  1. wearepennstate1984 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:33 PM

    That ain’t good.

  2. wustlumdnj says: Jan 13, 2014 9:52 PM

    I imagine someone would that kind of loyalty to a program (nearly 20 years) wouldn’t entertain the thought…but Rutgers could REALLY use him at D coordinator. The search is ongoing…

  3. matrix11603 says: Jan 13, 2014 9:53 PM

    I believe a 1-2 punch with Johnson and Franklin could have worked wonders. Bring Johnson back as asst. and Vanderlinden. Those 3 in the equation equals national title

  4. manik56 says: Jan 13, 2014 10:21 PM

    11W says OSU already has reached out to him.

  5. dmcgrann says: Jan 13, 2014 10:22 PM

    61 years old and 17-18 years of service. I’m betting he’s got a nice vested pension under the Pennsylvania state system.

  6. flyeredup says: Jan 13, 2014 11:05 PM

    Creepy Valley gets worse with every day.

  7. ducksk says: Jan 13, 2014 11:18 PM

    2 words. Loose weight

  8. lbijake says: Jan 13, 2014 11:24 PM

    LJ put the service in. He is a great coach and recruiter. Probably will not stay in Big Ten out of loyalty but the man deserves to choose his own landing spot.

  9. lbijake says: Jan 13, 2014 11:25 PM

    ducksk says:
    Jan 13, 2014 11:18 PM

    2 words. Loose weight

    3 words. “learn to spell”.

  10. ducksk says: Jan 13, 2014 11:34 PM

    Oops! Fat ask (sp) sorry teacher. Penn state scandal has tarnished football for a longtime. Ah, pass the donuts please. PSU shouldn’t be allowed a football team.

  11. ducksk says: Jan 13, 2014 11:47 PM

    If you believe this fatso and Joe Pa and the entire coaching staff knew nothing of uncle Jerry’s sick perverted likes, then you need your head examined. They all knew. Which makes me sick every time I hear anything about “ole PSU”

  12. epps2 says: Jan 14, 2014 12:13 AM

    I’m very sorry to read that Coach Johnson is leaving. I have been a Penn State fan forever and continue to be. Also, Coach Johnson has been a Wonderful recruiter. I wish Coach Johnson and his family all the best and thank you

  13. tommy57 says: Jan 14, 2014 6:27 AM

    As much as I like and respect Larry, his coaching career seems to have stalled. The move to OSU would be a lateral, not a promotion. His next move should be to a DC position, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening for him.

  14. bigbuckeye76 says: Jan 14, 2014 6:59 AM

    Wow, didn’t see this coming. D-line is good now, what about the secondary and D-coordinator?

  15. djlexluger says: Jan 14, 2014 7:43 AM

    People still stuck in this Sandusky thing.

  16. tommy57 says: Jan 14, 2014 7:49 AM

    The best move, for both Larry and PSU is to elevate him to Head of Recruiting. Win-win. Are you listening, Coach Franklin?

  17. dkhhuey says: Jan 14, 2014 9:32 AM

    Would LOVE to have LJ on staff at OSU!!! Mike Vrabel was an incredible recruiter and a big loss but this would most certainly take the sting out of that – not to mention bring a wealth of coaching experience to the OSU staff! I will be monitoring Eleven Warriors site for some potentially excellent news on an official hire!!!

  18. kastout11 says: Jan 14, 2014 10:01 AM

    Clearly, he is bitter that he did not get the HC job. I think he is a good defensive line coach and do not want to see him as an assistant with OSU. OSU is the one team in the conference that I cannot stand. Both Meyer and their fans are arrogant but unfortunately really talented with an amazing recruiting class coming in next year. It will take Franklin a few years to get the kind of recruits that Meyer gets, and that should level the playing field a little bit. I think PSU fans are a little ambitious thinking that they will win the conference a year or 2 after the sanctions are gone. I think it will be a little longer than that, but I see them competing for a confernce title in 5 years.

  19. normtide says: Jan 14, 2014 11:30 AM

    Kastout. Your correct sir. Osu will be moving forward while psu is trying to emerge from sanctions. Franklin will get you there, but will take time

  20. jrs45 says: Jan 14, 2014 1:09 PM


    Classic lmao!

  21. sprtmano says: Jan 18, 2014 10:07 AM

    I don’t blame him, Franklin is awful slimey.

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