Huff excited about being in Starkville with Moorhead

Charles Huff
By: 
JOEL COLEMAN
Staff Writer

The clock had already struck midnight late last year when Charles Huff received a phone call. On the other end of the line was Joe Moorhead, who almost literally had just accepted the offer to be Mississippi State’s new head football coach.

Moorhead’s late-night plea to Huff, a fellow Penn State assistant, was simple. He was coming to Starkville, and he wanted Huff to come with him to be an assistant head coach, run game coordinator and running backs coach.

“(Moorhead) called me at about 1 a.m.,” Huff recalls of that night. “He and the higher-ups had met somewhere and went through all the details and logistics. He got the job and called me and said, ‘I need you here as soon as possible.’

“After talking to him and him explaining to me what he had as a vision, me knowing him as a person, me knowing a little bit about (MSU) and what (former head coach) Dan Mullen had done to build it to where it is, it was a good, quick transition,”

Now here Huff is with the Bulldogs. He has brought with him an impressive resume that illustrates why he was the very first man Moorhead turned to when it came to starting to build a staff at MSU.

Huff is one of the nation’s top recruiters. He’s ranked the fourth-best in America by 247Sports.com.

Not only has Huff proven he can bring in talent. He has also shown he can develop it. Huff recruited, then helped mold Penn State star running back Saquon Barkley, who was a Heisman Trophy candidate last season.
Those types of things are why Moorhead needed Huff in maroon and white.

“Charles is a tremendous fit for our program,” Moorhead said. “He is intelligent and has an incredible work ethic. He does an outstanding job at teaching fundamentals and he is a phenomenal recruiter. He is someone our players will really embrace.”

The Bulldogs have had more than three months to become acquainted with Huff so far, but that will start to get ramped up this week as MSU begins spring practice. Finally, after months of recruiting along with getting acclimated to life in Starkville, Huff, Moorhead and the rest of the Bulldog coaching staff can begin to fully install the high-powered, innovative offense Moorhead is known for.

Huff is looking forward to getting going and making sure State players grasp the scheme.

“I think it’s going to come down to us as coaches doing the best we can to keep it simple,” Huff said. “Sometimes coaches get a little doctorate-level with their coaching and get smarter than they really need to be. It’s a simple game really. (Opponents) have 11 guys. We have 11 guys. We try to keep it simple. Coach Moorhead, if you look at what he did installing the offense his first year (as offensive coordinator) at Penn State and installing the offense the first year (when he was a head coach) at Fordham, he has done this before. He’s going to install it on an elementary level and allow the players to expand.”

Huff’s position group will of course be a big part of Moorhead’s offense. Mississippi State returns its talented group of running backs in 2018, led by senior Aeris Williams and sophomore Kylin Hill. Those two combined to rush for 1,500 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

To say that Huff is excited to work with Williams, Hill and the rest seems to be an understatement. It also seems as though Huff isn’t going into the spring with any preconceived notions about his guys and that everyone in the running back group will get opportunities.

“Those guys are special,” Huff said. “Those guys want to be great. I have not looked at any film from last year. I’m giving all those guys a clean slate. I don’t think it’s fair to evaluate something that I was not a part of, I was not teaching or I was not installing. I have told them they all have a clean slate. Obviously I’ve heard and seen the stories about how each one of them has some talent, so I’m excited to get them on the field and get them moving around.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the new techniques taught by Moorhead, Huff and company changes the landscape of the MSU running backs and the offense as a whole. The good news, Huff says, is a solid foundation is already in place for the Bulldogs.

Starting this week though, MSU plans to start constructing something on top of that foundation higher than anything that has been built in Starkville before. Huff is ready to be a part of it.

“We’re not coming in trying to change the name of the university or change the name of the stadium,” Huff said. “We’re coming in trying to enhance and bring light to the importance of the details that are going to make us go from good to great.”

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