Moorhead hard at work after one week on job at MSU

Joe Moorhead
Staff Writer

It was one week ago today that Joe Moorhead was introduced as Mississippi State University’s 33rd head football coach.
Last Thursday, he met with the MSU team for the first time, had the customary ring of the cowbell at his introductory press conference and immediately went to work.
One glance at Moorhead’s Twitter timeline proves he hasn’t wasted time in the early days of his MSU tenure. There are multiple pictures of Moorhead alongside Bulldog recruits. There are retweets of the coaching staff hires he has already made. There’s even a retweet of a promotional picture urging State fans to buy their tickets for the upcoming TaxSlayer Bowl.
It’s becoming readily apparent just seven days into the Moorhead era that it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever be outworked.
“You don’t build your reputation on what you’re going to do,” Moorhead said last week, quoting Henry Ford. “We’ve got to make sure that we understand that we don’t get what we wish for. We get what we work for.”
Moorhead has practiced what he’s preached in the days since his hire. He has already officially gotten a pair of assistants. He picked Charles Huff his assistant head coach/running game coordinator/running backs coach. Huff worked alongside Moorhead the last two seasons as Moorhead served as the offensive coordinator at Penn State.
On Wednesday, MSU officially announced Moorhead’s hire of Fordham head coach Andrew Breiner to be State’s pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Breiner and Moorhead have known each other for years and perhaps no one better understands Moorhead’s offense than Breiner.

More hires are soon to come.

“I’m looking for guys with intelligence, loyalty and a great work ethic who will be great mentors to (the players in) our program and give them the tools to be successful in the classroom, on the field and in the community,” Moorhead said.

Perhaps the most anticipated hire Moorhead has to make hasn’t yet happened. Moorhead, well-regarded as an offensive mastermind, will call MSU’s offensive plays and serve as the de facto offensive coordinator, but Moorhead hasn’t yet hired a defensive coordinator.

He said last week that it’s not for a lack of options. He’s simply covering all of his bases.

“In terms of the timetable of hiring staff, I could make 10 calls right now and have a staff filled,” Moorhead said. “I want to measure twice and cut once and make sure that we’re not just hiring for the sake of getting this thing filled up. We want to make sure that we’re getting the right people in here to give us the opportunity to be successful in the long term.”

It’s a safe bet that Moorhead is hard at work to find the man who’ll serve as his defensive coordinator and the rest of the men who’ll fill out his coaching staff. Working hard is just what Moorhead does.

Moorhead attributes much of that to his father. Moorhead’s dad worked for 35 years in a steel mill.

“He worked three jobs to put two kids through college,” Moorhead said of his father. “I really think in terms of my formation as a person and what I stand for was that understanding of what a blue-collar worker meant. It didn’t matter how cold it was. It didn’t matter how warm it was, how early in the morning or late at night. He got up every day and went to work.”

MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said Moorhead’s ingrained work ethic was one of the qualities that made Moorhead an attractive head coaching candidate.

“We were looking for someone who had a blue-collar attitude, but an intellectual personality at the same time,” Cohen said. “Joe fits both of those bills.”

One week into things, Moorhead is proving all that chatter about hard work isn’t just talk. He continues to work the recruiting trail ahead of the NCAA early singing period which will last for 72 hours starting on Dec. 20.
Moorhead also continues to assemble the staff that will assist him as he guides the Bulldogs forward.

The jury is still out on exactly how well Moorhead and his new staff will do at MSU. There are high expectations, but Moorhead’s success or lack thereof will ultimately be determined on the field.

There does seem to be one certainty though. It’s going to be hard for any other team or coach to outwork Joe Moorhead and the Bulldogs.

“We’re going to finish everything we do,” Moorhead said. “We’re going to fight tooth and nail. We’re going to scratch and claw. We’re going to make sure everybody understands that when you step on the field with the Mississippi State Bulldogs, you’re in for a 15-round fight and we’re not stopping until the bell rings.”