Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien is taking the first step to evaluating his options for 2014.
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rappaport, O’Brien has agreed to interview with the Texans about the vacant head coaching position. Not surprisingly, O’Brien is being considered one of the top candidates for the job.
The O’Brien-to-NFL theme seems to be picking up steam every day with a number of NFL coaching jobs now available, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk does not seem to think it is an automatic given that he leaves Penn State. O’Brien has the mentality needed by an NFL coach and he has the experience to make the move after two years as a head coach of a notable program through unprecedented sanctions. If he can handle the situation he has dealt with in State College, whatever challenges that would await in the NFL would likely seem like nothing by comparison.
The buyout clause is certainly not the deterring factor it may have once been, and O’Brien has certainly earned an opportunity to explore all of his options. O’Brien has said before that the highest level of the profession of a football coach is in the NFL, and his statements have hinted that it would be something he would be interested in pursuing.
Does he leave Penn State now? Who knows. It is not likely O’Brien will leave Penn State for just any job in the NFL, but the Houston job is an interesting fit with a young quarterback in Case Keenum on the roster (if O’Brien can make Matt McGloin an NFL starter, what could he do with Keenum?) and a team that should be ready to make a quick turnaround in 2014 after a disappointing 2013 season.