Penn State is continuing to work through all options as it looks to replace defensive coordinator Manny Diaz who was tabbed as Duke’s next head coach a few days ago. According to Penn State had coach James Franklin, the program will consider both internal and external candidates for the position.

“We’re very, very happy for Manny Diaz and his family,” Franklin said on Monday. “We will handle it internally similar to how we’ve handled it on offense for the last few games of the season, and also try to balance that while also interviewing and trying to figure out what we’re doing moving forward. Whether that’s an internal candidate or an external candidate we’re working through that right now. We’ll handle it like we have on offense the last few games of the season. And I’ll get into more specifics as we get together again.”

If Penn State were to go with an internal hire it seems likely that co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Anthony Poindexter would be the runaway favorite for that kind of move. This upcoming season would be Poindexter’s fourth at Penn State and a promotion to defensive coordinator might lock down the well respected assistant for a few more seasons in State College. Poindexter is not long removed from being a favorite to land the Virginia head coaching job in 2021. Externally the number of quality defensive coordinators in college football is a fairly robust list.

Fortunately for Penn State, the Nittany Lions’ long tradition of quality defensive football lends itself well to being an attractive location of plenty of those quality coordinators. Who Penn State is speaking with at present is unknown but no matter who gets the job the Nittany Lions will be introducing a new coordinator on both sides of the ball this upcoming season. Penn State moved on from multi-year offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich following the Nittany Lions’ loss to Michigan, hiring Kansas offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki following the conclusion of the regular season.

“Whenever you’re going to make a decision in leadership, football is unique. Some of my position coaches are coaching more players than some other sports have on their entire team. This is an attractive position,” Franklin said. “I’ve been fortunate. I’ve had three defensive coordinators and they’ve all had top 10 defenses consistently. Penn State has played really good defense for a long time. So, between the school’s history and our short time playing defense around here, this is an attractive job for a lot of coaches.”

Franklin is next scheduled to speak with the media on Friday as part of the program’s Peach Bowl media day.

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