Any fair gauge of the level of enthusiasm for the news of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ hiring of Adrian Klemm to be their next offensive line coach would be generous in characterizing it as even lukewarm. Some would even argue that it has been altogether nonexistent.
While the results of his work in this new role—after spending the past two years as the assistant offensive line coach to former assistant Shaun Sarrett—are yet to be seen, and it’s entirely possible that he performs at a high level, this was certainly not the hire that anybody was anticipating.
The Steelers were known to have interviewed or requested interview with multiple seasoned veteran offensive line coaches, seemingly their target after two years of Sarrett, whose group has fallen off the path set on by the great work of his predecessor, Mike Munchak.
Klemm only has experience in the NFL as an assistant offensive line coach, but he does have NFL playing experience, and he was a head offensive line coach at the college level. it’s also worth noting that he played under the great Dante Scarnecchia while a member of the New England Patriots.
While there hasn’t been much fanfare over the promotion, there is at least one player who was seemingly happy to hear the news. Fourth-year offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor, who started 15 regular season games in 2020, shared on social media that 2021 would be the “best year yet” and that he “can’t wait”, sharing an image of himself with Klemm.
— Steelers Depot 🎄 (@Steelersdepot) February 2, 2021
As mentioned, Klemm was hired by the Steelers to serve as assistant offensive line coach under Sarrett after the latter was promoted from that same role, taking over the duties of head offensive line coach after Munchak opted to take that post with the Denver Broncos in order to be closer to his family.
Prior to that, Klemm’s coaching experience had been limited to the college ranks, starting at a graduate assistant at SMU in 2008. He served as offensive line coach for the next three seasons, which included is working with former Steeler Kelvin Beachum.
Following the 2011 season, Klemm moved on to UCLA, where he was both offensive line coach and run game coordinator, and eventually also received the additional title of associate head coach, until he ran into trouble, eventually being named in a lawsuit filed by former players alleging misconduct. He would not coach between 2017 and 2018 before head coach Mike Tomlin decided to hire him.
Now he has the unenviable task of resurrecting a rapidly-depleting offensive line group that is in need of an influx of young talent. Okorafor could possibly be part of the solution, but it would take him having the best year of his young career and building off of what he started in 2020.