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.