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Update: O’Brien interviews for Penn State job

Bill O'Brien, Tom Brady AP

UPDATED 1/5/2012 @ 9:04 p.m. ET: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien did indeed interview for the Penn State vacancy on Thursday, the coach’s agent confirmed to the Associated Press.

Joe Linta said following the talk with school officials that his client is “flattered by the interest.”

O’Brien was not available for the Patriots’ practice session today, although head coach Bill Belichick was shockingly guarded about the possibility of losing his coordinator to the collegiate ranks.

“He’s done a great job for us since he’s come here,” Belichick said. “I really can’t speak to him in any other position.”


What, you thought you’d make it through the rest of the day without another twist in Penn State’s search for a head coach?

Bill O’Brien was identified over the weekend as a candidate all but signed, sealed and delivered as Penn State’s next coach, only to have his agent knock down the reports by labeling them as “off-base“.  In fact, the agent seemed to hint that his client’s future was at the NFL level.

Three days later, O’Brien’s name is once again connected to a job that’s been vacant for nearly two full months as USA Today is reporting that O’Brien is scheduled to interview with Penn State officials on Thursday.  Ron Mussleman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette subsequently confirmed the report.

O’Brien would become the third current NFL assistant to interview for the job, joining Green bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements and San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman.  The latter is reportedly a finalist to land the Nittany Lions gig.

O’Brien has been with the New England Patriots since 2007, and spent his first season as the NFL club’s offensive coordinator this past year.  Prior to the five-year stint in the NFL, O’Brien spent time on college staffs at Georgia Tech (1995-2002), Maryland (2003-04) and Duke (2005-06).

It remains unclear when Penn State will name a permanent successor to Joe Paterno, although we’re assuming it will occur at some point prior to the start of the 2012 season.

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17 Responses to “Update: O’Brien interviews for Penn State job”
  1. 187onsandusky says: Jan 4, 2012 8:22 PM

    I’m the obnoxious guy. Derp a derp a derp. I hate PSU. Derp a derp a derp. I’ll use a broad brush to paint everyone associated with the university. Derp a derp a derp. I’m to ignorant to understand that this behavior is associated with bigotry and racists and am completely incapable of viewing things as separate situations and am too feeble minded to make coherent arguments without reverting to simple name calling. Derp a derp a derp. In fact in almost every aspect of my life I have not evolved past the fourth grade. Derp a derp a derp a der a dee.

  2. Deb says: Jan 4, 2012 8:43 PM

    Just posted on the Roman thread that Penn State seems to be in a frenzy to put someone in that job ASAP rather than taking time to make a thoughtful hire. The individual who takes this job will be the face of a beleaguered program with the difficult task of holding together the team through whatever difficult times–and possible sanctions–lay ahead. I’m not sure why grabbing an NFL assistant has become the imperative in these circumstances.

    Recruiting is the most difficult challenge for college coaches, and that’s going to be a significant obstacle for Penn State with so much uncertainty ahead. They need a coach who can convince parents to trust him with their kids’ futures and convince players PSU will showcase their talents for the next level. Perhaps these NFL guys can do that. But I’m surprised they’re not looking at men with more college or head-coaching experience.

  3. 10kmp says: Jan 4, 2012 8:48 PM

    Whatever… If and when PSU ever actually hires someone then write the story. Until then it’s just another name, in a loooooong line of names, connected to, or associated with this opening. Dan Mullen is the next guy… no he’s not. Clements is in… no he’s out. Munchak is in… wait, he’s out. O’Brien is in… nope, he’s out too. Peterson is listening x2… no, he’s a definite out. Roman’s in… possibly. Schiano has no interest… wait, he’s on a list.

  4. paulieorkid says: Jan 4, 2012 9:28 PM

    Not real crazy about Bill O’Brien. Seems like a number of Patriot offensive coordinators become coveted and land college or pro head coaching gigs for big money (e.g., Josh McDaniels with the Broncos and Charlie Weis with the Fighting Irish are two recent ones to come to mind).

    Both McDaniels and Weis crashed and burned, and were each fired after piloting abysmal head coaching stints – and it now looks like McDaniels is also going to get crapped out offensive coordinator of the Rams now too.

    As I see it, the common thread is the Patriot Offensive Coordinators all succed in New England largely because they have Tom Brady behind Center. When they coach elsewhere without Brady (or a player of his caliber) taking the snaps, they have not met with any measure of success. In fact, they’ve all gone down in flames hard.

    So not real high on O’Brien.

    As noted a number of times, the dark horse I hope lands the HC job at PSU is Tom Clements.

    Amongst his other credentials, Clements has been the QB Coach of Green Bay for since about 2006 or 2007, the precise period that involved grooming of Aaron Rodgers into the epic beast we now see playing on Sundays. Rodgers will be the NFL MVP this year, and his QB Rating is an NFL record-shattering 122.5. Even Rodgers’ back-up, a guy few have heard of named Matt Flynn, threw for 6 TD passes and nearly 500 yards in his only full start yesterday.

    And though Penn State has long recruited effectively at several positions, we have not recruited a whole lot of blue chip/truly elite QBs.

    And I really believe Clements could really go a lonnng way toward improving us in recruiting (especially offensive skill players, most notably QB). Once the 5 star QBs start signing letters of Intent to play, the rest of the skill players start forming a long line behind them. Clements can also provide immense benefit in other areas, such as actual coaching, player player development and conceptually from strategic/schematic perspective, offensively — not to mention help us in several other ways.

    Clements is RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. Let’s not blow it.

  5. thefiesty1 says: Jan 4, 2012 9:52 PM

    The problem PSU is having is that NOBODY wants to be associated with that mess. It’s a lose-lose situation for anybody that accepts any job there.

  6. dhlions says: Jan 4, 2012 9:52 PM


    Well said, though I disagree on one point. I absolutely refuse to believe that the quarterbacks we have recruited over the past few decades were all bad.

    I blame the nepotism that put Jay Paterno in a position to “develop” quarterbacks.

  7. 187onsandusky says: Jan 4, 2012 10:51 PM


    Beat me to that point. Hiring Clements may end our storied tradition of graduating touted QB’s who are worse than when they arrived on campus.

    Personally I like Greg Roman, but would be okay with either guy.

  8. friznitz5 says: Jan 4, 2012 11:06 PM

    @ Deb – the job has been vacant for 2 months. How is that “a frenzy to put someone in the job ASAP?”

  9. paulieorkid says: Jan 4, 2012 11:43 PM

    @dhlions & 187onsandusky:

    I just really appreciate it that some of us are really trying to think about this, think things through …. take lemons and make lemonade if you will.

    It just seems like why would PSU keep bringing people in when the perfect fit is right there – Clements is from western PA and he WANTS to take on the job, asked for consideration at Penn State and he IS UP TO THE CHALLENGE. Clements’ credentials are ideal – and his heart is in the right place too!

    Really. What more could we possibly ask???

  10. pandebailey says: Jan 5, 2012 12:18 AM

    I’m surprised no one has brought up the Tom Brady-Bill O’Brien encounter a few weeks ago. Its one thing to have a fiery coach – its quite another for the coach to go absolutely insane on the sideline and try to fight a hall of fame quarterback during a game!

    Brady said they call O’Brien “Teapot” because he tends to boil over now and then. Watch that video on YouTube and I think you’d agree his nickname should really be “Psycho”. What kind of coach tries to fight Tom Brady? Yikes.

    I don’t know another thing about Bill O’Brien, but that’s enough for me. Penn State needs to use the Jack Nicholson quote from Good as it Gets……
    “Sell crazy somewhere else, we’re all stocked up here!”

  11. thatobnoxiousguy says: Jan 5, 2012 2:56 AM

    That sicko school is FOREVER tainted from the see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil likes of Sandusky, JoePa, and others in power. The school was run by the good ol perv network and supported by the wack job students that rioted and supported the partners Perv Valley.

    No coach will EVER be able rescue PSU and quite frankly, that’s not such a bad thing.

  12. tobeexact says: Jan 5, 2012 11:43 AM

    I enjoy reading the comments from people like the moron above me and usually wouldnt bother responding.
    And I thank you for the morning laugh.
    I bet your an obama fan too and think that he is doing a great job. It also shows your second grade mentality ,im surprised you could actually sign in to the blog.
    If you actually knew what you were taking about then you wouldnt be talking out your ??? . Penn State is actually number one in so many categories that there isnt any other school to compare them to. And there students are outstanding in academics, fundraising, innovation and highly sought after by all the fortune 500 companies.
    And joe pa has done more for students and numerous charities unlike all the other greedy coaches in college football that live high off the hog siting in there multi million solar homes that they got from the hard working student athlete who gets nothing .
    Im willing to bet your unemployed , collecting welfare ,fat and ugly with pimples the size of baseballs.
    And you probably think you deserve it as well.
    Go crawl back under the rock you came from and troll somewhere else.

  13. tobeexact says: Jan 5, 2012 12:16 PM

    As far as the penn state coaching search goes,im thoroughly enjoying , watching the media, especially espn /scum bags , the AP and a few other media stations trying to get some kind of answer as to whom it may be.
    Do you really think they are going to let the likes of espn be the first to know or let them break the news after they blasted the university with out any facts what so ever and kept reporting about it. Especially after syracuse who blasted them back for runing that story as well, while holding onto a tape because they stated they had a moral obligation not to , because they didnt want to ruin someones reputation ,yet they bashed penn state for following the law and doing the same.

    Then there is the ncaa who said penn state shouldnt worry about there football program and making money,yet they just signed a 500 million dollar tv deal for the rights to air college football games. And the fact penn state is number one in student athletes graduation rate and no difference between races either. Yet all you see on the news is all these colleges out there doing exactly what they told penn state they shouldnt , going after the best coaches money can buy and giving out record breaking contracts even for position coaches yet thats ok, and the kicker is its schools with the worst graduation rates or rankings .
    Schools changing conferences at a record pace to make more money off of there football programs and to be able to make it to a higher paying , national televised bowl game or to be able to have a shot at a National title, where is the ncaa now . And you can forget about any sanctions from the ncaa because unlike other scandals that actually involve sports violations , penn state has not.
    And the Big chiming in is a joke, penn state makes the conference more money then any other team in the BIG by more then half.
    Besides maybe a couple of legit charges against sandusky, who for the record is a creep in my mind, the rest are nothing but low life money chasers that show up in any case like this .

  14. eaglessuperfan says: Jan 5, 2012 3:59 PM

    Will they hire a coach in 2012? Comon already get it done.

  15. 78lion says: Jan 5, 2012 9:56 PM

    Confirmed by the coach’s agent. A coach that is in the last year of his contract and won’t be invited back to NE has an agent that is pumping him up to the media and the media is feeding on it. Wow, what investigative reporting we have here!!

  16. dirtyharry1971 says: Jan 5, 2012 10:37 PM

    hahaha this will be the biggest bust head coach in NCAA history!! i love it!! penn state is going down like the titanic baby! bye bye

  17. 1historian says: Jan 6, 2012 10:59 AM

    I had a friend at Notre Dame in 1961 named Dave Clements. He was from McKees Rocks, Pa., and he was always telling me what a terrific player his little brother Tommy was. 12 years later everybody else found out how right Dave was.

    PSU needs to hire the right guy – someone with integrity who wants the job and who has shown along the way that he knows what he is doing. I think Tom Clements fills the bill.

    As for O’Brien and Brady getting into it on the sideline – what is the big deal? There was a manly hug at the end of the game and life seems to be going on.

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