Auburn wasted little time in filling a hole on its coaching staff. Just after Auburn lost offensive line coach J.B. Grimes to Cincinnati, Auburn acted quickly to add Penn State offensive line coach Herb Hand to the staff. AL.com reported the move was likely to happen in the event Auburn lost Grimes to Cincinnati, and Dan Wolken of USA Today reports the two sides are heading toward a deal.
Assuming the contract details can be squared away nicely, Hand will be reunited with Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. The two previously worked together at Tulsa in 2007 and 2008. Hand will also have a much better offensive line to work with than he ever had at Penn State in the past two seasons. Auburn allowed 19.0 sacks last season. Penn State allowed 10 in the first game of the season of 2015 and ended the year giving up a total of 39 sacks. There were some legitimate excuses to be made for the offensive line depth Hand had to work with, but Penn State’s offensive line struggled to show signs of improvement over the past two seasons. How much of that was Hand’s fault and how much of that was to blame on reduced scholarships and recruiting work on the offensive line?
Hand is also the second assistant coach to leave Penn State’s program in the past few days. Penn State lost defensive coordinator Bob Shoop to Tennessee over the weekend. Penn State promoted Brent Pry from the staff to fill the role of defensive coordinator. Penn State also fired offensive coordinator John Donovan after the regular season and hired Joe Moorehead from Fordham to be the new offensive coordinator. Now, it would appear, Penn State will need to add an offensive line coach to the staff.