STATE COLLEGE — Penn State hopes new wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield will bring stability to an unstable coaching position.
Stubblefield wants to show he can stay rooted for an extended period.
Together, both parties are optimistic the marriage can work.
“I am definitely looking for stability because I know that’s what I need in my career,” Stubblefield said. “I also know it’s what the wide receivers need, as well. But for me, professionally, I know that I need to be at a place for an extended period of time in order for me to grow the way that I need to grow.”
Stubblefield was introduced on Jan. 19 as Penn State’s latest wide receivers coach. It's his 10th college coaching stop.
Stubblefield spent the 2019 season with Miami (Fla.) He replaces Gerad Parker, who moved on to become the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at West Virginia after one season.
Thirteen months ago, Parker replaced David Corley after Corley was fired following the 2019 Citrus Bowl.
Before Corley, current Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis roamed the sideline as the Nittany Lions’ wide receivers coach.
Stubblefield is Penn State’s fourth wide receivers coach in as many seasons.
“(We) had a lot of conversations in hiring him about the stability aspect of it,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “But then on top of that, back to the stability thing, we need stability. The interesting thing is he needs it, too. One of the stories that a lot of people have talked about is he hasn't necessarily shown that in his career. So (it’s) something that he needs and we both need right now. So I think that helps.”
Nine years of college coaching experience at nine schools accompany Stubblefield to Happy Valley. He also coached for one season in the Canadian Football League.
Stubblefield starred at Purdue from 2001-04 where was the Big Ten’s most productive receiver. He accumulated 3,629 yards receiving — which still ranks second in the conference books — and his 316 receptions set an NCAA record. During Stubblefield's senior season, he earned distinction as an All-American. He was also named a First-Team All-Big Ten selection, and he landed on the list as a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s best wide receiver).
Stubblefield’s coaching resume includes helping guide Wake Forest wideout Michael Campanaro to third-team All-ACC honors in 2013. While at Air Force for two seasons, his Falcons’ receivers averaged 17.7 yards per catch. A trio of Central Michigan pass-catchers in 2011 earned third-team All-Mid-American Conference accolades under his guidance.
While the personal accolades he received during his college playing days certainly help as an icebreaker with recruits, Stubblefield said he places more emphasis on his body of work as a coach.
“At the same time, I’ve been able to have some success as a coach,” Stubblefield said. “Being able to have record-holders at my first full-time job, to have an All-American, All-Conference player at my second full-time job. Being able to have some guys in the National Football League at a place that hadn’t had wide receivers in the National Football League for six or seven years.”
Stubblefield will work with a Nittany Lions’ wide receivers corps that has struggled to establish itself. The unit lost KJ Hamler — who led the team in receiving the last two seasons — to the upcoming NFL Draft, and former five-star recruit Justin Shorter has transferred to Florida.
Stubblefied plans to use his experiences as both a player and a coach to connect with his new position group.
“I think one thing in all the places that I’ve been able to go, I do think that you have somewhat of an instant impact because you’ve played the position,” Stubblefield said. “So being able to come a room in a conference that you’ve played in, that they know that you’ve played in, it at least gives you some credibility, so that the things you start to teach, they can say, ‘I get it.’”
Stubblefield joins offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, offensive line coach Phil Trautwein and defensive line coach John Scott Jr. as additions to the coaching staff. Starting his Penn State career with three others, Stubblefield said, has made for an easy transition.
“It’s kind of awesome,” Stubblefield said. “Coach Trautwein and I were talking about houses and offers on houses and what they’re going to do with their backyard and things like that. … But at the same time, this whole staff, everyone has literally asked, ‘What can I do the help you?’”