Auburn has hired Herb Hand from Penn State to coach the offensive line after the departure of J.B. Grimes. For the last two seasons, Hand has been the offensive line coach for James Franklin with the Nittany Lions. He was with Franklin at Vanderbilt for the two seasons prior to that. He was Gus Malzahn's first choice to coach Auburn's offensive line in 2012 when Malzahn was hired, but at the time decided he didn't want to leave Nashville.
Let's get the obvious bit out of the way, first. Yes, his offensive lines at Penn State have not been great. They've given up a lot of sacks and sack yardage. They're not great with running the football, either. However, Penn State is still dealing with the harsh sanctions following the Sandusky Affair. Their recruiting wasn't very strong prior to Franklin's staff arriving, and it's not like Hand had the best talent to work with while still facing the likes of the best teams in the B1G.
To get a better idea about Hand, you have to look back at the success he had at Vanderbilt, where the Commodores set school rushing records. Before that, he was at Tulsa with Gus Malzahn where the two of them led the nation in total offense two years in a row as co-offensive coordinators. He is widely credited with being the one who taught Gus Malzahn all about the zone-read. Where did he learn that? From his time at West Virginia on the staff of Rich Rodriguez. Read more about their relationship here.
He's an excellent recruiter, too, which is always relevant to the interest of SEC fans. Auburn only has one offensive lineman committed for the 2016 cycle and likely needs to add another one or two elite linemen to feel safe about the depth going forward. Hand should be a help, there. Want to know how great he is on in-home visits? This is how he spent part of one of them, recently:
I'm a bit concerned he appears to have missed the first shot with a scatter gun, but he got it on the second shell! EDIT: I now see his first shot was aimed at whatever melon or something is below and right of the jug. So I take that back!
That's not even the best example of how awesome he can be when it comes to Social Media postings, either. Just prior to the 2014 football season, Coach Hand got involved with a few people on Twitter who were jokingly creating a version of Sir Mix A Lot's classic "Baby Got Back." His contributions were ultimately used at the end of their version of the song, which you can check out here. Or just see his main ones, below:
If there's one thing Auburn's coaching staff has lacked, it's a coach with a great social media presence for interacting with recruits. Hand has that covered in spades. He's also been known to rap. These are things that'll be a hit with recruits. I dearly hope Gus Malzahn doesn't stifle that.
Welcome to Auburn, Coach Hand!