Skip to content

O’Brien reportedly headed to Penn State

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Getty Images

Four days after his agent said that Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien’s dream is “to be an NFL coach,” O’Brien has opted to press pause on that ambition to take on perhaps the biggest challenge in all of college football.

Per multiple reports, O’Brien will become the next head coach at Penn State.

Largely unknown until his December 11 sideline shouting match with Tom Brady, O’Brien will try to fill the shoes of Joe Paterno while at the same time carrying the anchor that Paterno’s top lieutenant, Jerry Sandusky, dropped onto the entire program.  With the recruiting class in shambles, O’Brien’s immediate task will be to try to convince high-school students and their parents to choose to spend the next four or five years as part of one of the most daunting reclamation projects in all of college football.

O’Brien, 42, attended Brown University and has no prior ties to Penn State.

It’s currently unknown whether O’Brien will immediately leave the Patriots, or whether he’ll split time between the two jobs, as Charlie Weis did after he accepted the Notre Dame job in early 2005.

Permalink 77 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: New England Patriots, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
77 Responses to “O’Brien reportedly headed to Penn State”
  1. caseyanthonymunoz says: Jan 5, 2012 10:45 PM

    Taking over the coaching staff at Pedo State is like taking over the QB position for the Steelers. Whats up with the sexual offenders with Pennsylvania?

  2. lilrob10201 says: Jan 5, 2012 10:49 PM

    If he has success at Penn state then his dream should come true.

  3. outsyderz34 says: Jan 5, 2012 10:50 PM

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention that Paterno went to and played for Brown.

  4. ingloriousmaster says: Jan 5, 2012 10:54 PM

    I love the Pats and congrats to O’Brien but coaches shouldnt be allowed to interview until after the nfl season is over; that goes for all teams, in the playoffs or not.

  5. 4512dawg4512 says: Jan 5, 2012 10:55 PM

    And cue the bad jokes…..

  6. romangabriel says: Jan 5, 2012 10:56 PM

    So what the heck does this do to the Pats chances?
    It surely doesn’t help?
    He is under contract…

  7. 4512dawg4512 says: Jan 5, 2012 10:57 PM

    caseyanthonymunoz —— That cracked me up! Good one!

  8. thesaint257 says: Jan 5, 2012 10:58 PM

    And que the inappropriate yet funny comments in 3,2,1……go!

  9. farvefromover says: Jan 5, 2012 10:58 PM

    Terrible move by Penn State.

  10. KIR says: Jan 5, 2012 10:58 PM

    There are only a handful of people who could come in recruit and keep that team winning. Tony Dungy, Bill Bellichick, Mike Tomlin, Jim Harbaugh big, big, big names. Sorry, but this guy is going to crash and burn with second and third tier recruits.

  11. newenglandsports11 says: Jan 5, 2012 10:59 PM

    That’s great, he does a good job of making sure there is no horsing around.

  12. 6ball says: Jan 5, 2012 11:00 PM

    .

    Security, please show Mr O’Brien the door.

    As if the Patriots need your story line repeated ad nauseum during their playoff run. Somehow, I think Brady can survive without you.

    .

  13. crindal3000 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:01 PM

    Huge get for penn st. I’m mean who?????

  14. falconsfan1991 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:02 PM

    Will be best known for his shouting match with Brady

  15. profootballwalk says: Jan 5, 2012 11:03 PM

    romangabriel says: Jan 5, 2012 10:56 PM

    So what the heck does this do to the Pats chances?
    It surely doesn’t help?
    He is under contract
    ****************************************

    Throw the ball to Gronkowski.Throw the ball to Welker. Throw the ball to Hernandez. Repeat.

  16. Gordon says: Jan 5, 2012 11:04 PM

    I’m sure Belichick is gonna love having to address this at his upcoming press conferences.

  17. skolvikesskol says: Jan 5, 2012 11:04 PM

    Who? Conan left tv for coaching?? Wait… A different obrian…? Then back to mu first question… Who? Oh another pats oc is going to get an hc chance licing off of brady’s arm….. Lets see how abysmal this one gets… I feel bad for psu

  18. bobby4413 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:05 PM

    Great hire, he can bring the Belicheat video cameras to Happy Valley. Is he required to join NAMBLA prior to accepting the offer?

  19. jasons81 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:05 PM

    They were fine when Weiss left in ’05, they’ll be fine this year. Brady is the real OC.

  20. bearsrulepackdrool says: Jan 5, 2012 11:07 PM

    Wow, someone needs to interview Tom Brady for a head coaching position. Because he seems to make everybody rich and future head coaches. Charlie Weis helped make and develop him. Now he’s making and developing these coaches. But, someone needs to remind these coaches. There is only one Tom Brady. You can’t take him with you and have immediate success wherever you go. I feel sorry for the saps that hire the coaches that are only puppets in the Brady-Belichek world.

  21. wideright91 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:07 PM

    Naaa, it won’t be the “biggest challenge in all of college football” because he will be bringing the Patriot’s (cheating) Way.

  22. khuxford says: Jan 5, 2012 11:08 PM

    I feel bad for Penn State. Hiring a Pats alum (with their track record) is no way to be successful.

  23. cowhawkfan says: Jan 5, 2012 11:09 PM

    Penn State is a good program that had a few bad apples compounded by errors in judgement. As far as I know, there is only one alleged pedophile attached to the football team. Let’s not color an entire population by one man’s crime.

  24. cunninglinguist69 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:11 PM

    The Pats will just move on to the next guy, initially without the title of OC, of course. You heard it here first: the next (unofficial ) offensive coordinator for the Pats will be current receivers coach Chad O’Shea.

  25. letsgosharks says: Jan 5, 2012 11:12 PM

    Not a bad hire but remember the track of past Belichick assistants when they get head coaching jobs

  26. patriots2120 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:13 PM

    ingloriousmaster says:Jan 5, 2012 10:54 PM

    I love the Pats and congrats to O’Brien but coaches shouldnt be allowed to interview until after the nfl season is over; that goes for all teams, in the playoffs or not.

    I agree with you too dude! I’m a life-long Pats fan and have waited a long time to see this team back in the SB, and make no mistake, this will be a distraction! If he stays and commits 110% to the Pats, we’ll be fine, but if he leaves early, or splits time, the Pats will suffer because he has a HUGE task of recruiting kids to play there and restore some image….

    This better not f@ck up the Pats Super Bowl chances in 2012!!

  27. mnfaninaz says: Jan 5, 2012 11:13 PM

    Is this the same guy that Tom Brady fired on the sidelines a few weeks ago?

    I guess it’s better than IUPUI…

  28. bigmatt1982 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:16 PM

    What a joke he’s not going to be NFL head coach that’s why he settled for presumably a big pay day at Penn State. He’s a product of Bellicheck and Brady. Horrible hire

  29. bbrophy1 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:17 PM

    His contract is an NFL contract, it does not preclude from all other jobs in the world. That being said, the potential for failure at Penn State is high, I don’t think O’Brien will burn any bridges with Belichick. The last time they won the Super Bowl was the year Charlie Weis split time recruiting for Notre Dame and preparing for the Super Bowl run.

  30. zimaman says: Jan 5, 2012 11:20 PM

    romangabriel says:
    Jan 5, 2012 10:56 PM
    So what the heck does this do to the Pats chances?
    It surely doesn’t help?
    He is under contract…
    –———————————–

    R u kidding?

    First of all the real OC is #12 Tom Brady and as long as he is standing back there this team will always be in the playoffs with 10 + wins

    Second, O’Brien is not leaving until Patriots are eliminated from contention. Thats SOP in these cases.

    Third, don’t be surprised if Josh MacDaniels does not magically appear in Foxboro next year

  31. alan226 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:21 PM

    And the last time this happened to the Pats in 2004, Charlie Weis went to Notre Dame. And the Pats won the Superbowl.

    Maybe lightning strikes twice….

  32. nfl1818 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:21 PM

    How many friggin playoff runs are going to be interrupted by coaches with one eye focused elsewhere ? Endless.

  33. tim1999 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:25 PM

    As a Patriot fan I gained alot of respect for Bill O’Brien (as did 99.9% of the Patriot locker room and fan base) when he confronted the whining diva Tom Brady over Brady’s constant berating of other players when Brady himself was the problem on the blown plays at least 50% of the time.
    Good luck to Billy O. Bad bad scene that if he can clean up he’ll be a heroic and historical figure.

  34. rxv5854 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:28 PM

    It’s about time they installed cameras in that locker room.

  35. drgfri says: Jan 5, 2012 11:36 PM

    I thought a creep like Roethlisberger was a shoe in for this job…

  36. dlmcc1010 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:49 PM

    Really tough job. I agreed with the firing of Joe Paterno. But its still tough shoes to fill. Its also going to be real hard trying to recruit for thoes first couple years. Best of luck

  37. johnnyb216 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:52 PM

    Really don’t see this working out. If Penn state wants to transitions successfully, they need to hire somebody already proven. Too bad urban Meyer already signed with Ohio state. Look for Penn state to be looking for a new coach within 3-4 years.

  38. stanklepoot says: Jan 5, 2012 11:52 PM

    O’Brien, 42, attended Brown University and has no prior ties to Penn State.
    _____________________________
    Kind of ironic actually. Paterno went to Brown as well.

  39. geniusfan says: Jan 5, 2012 11:57 PM

    “As a Patriot fan I gained alot of respect for Bill O’Brien (as did 99.9% of the Patriot locker room and fan base) when he confronted the whining diva Tom Brady over Brady’s constant berating of other players when Brady himself was the problem on the blown plays at least 50% of the time.
    Good luck to Billy O. Bad bad scene that if he can clean up he’ll be a heroic and historical figure.”

    I guess I’m part of the .1% then. I think he’s an average play caller he abandons the run wayyy to quickly has eliminated the screen game in Foxboro and struggles to adjust to unexpected defensive schemes.

    “So what the heck does this do to the Pats chances?
    It surely doesn’t help?
    He is under contract…”

    He’s already been confirmed to be staying with the Patriots until their playoff run is through. Also there’s precedence for this Charlie Weis was hired in December of 2004 to be the Notre Dame coach he stuck with New England until they won a little something called Super Bowl 39 before leaving.

  40. lionsfanatic84 says: Jan 5, 2012 11:57 PM

    KIR-
    which one of those big names doesn’t fit with the rest. The one that really isn’t a big name, you know, cuz the rest all have super bowl rings

  41. atwatercrushesokoye says: Jan 6, 2012 12:11 AM

    Regardless of Joe Paterno’s now tarnished image, he’s considered by everybody at that University as larger than life, no one ever does well following a “legend”…this isn’t going to end well.

  42. mrplow3 says: Jan 6, 2012 12:12 AM

    I could never take that job, I don’t know how anyone could.

    I mean, having to spend all that time in the same locker room where dozens of kids were sodamized by that sick freak?

    Just the thought of it makes my stomach turn.

  43. drewsylvania says: Jan 6, 2012 12:22 AM

    In other news, there are some really dumb haters out there.

  44. boilerup1869 says: Jan 6, 2012 12:24 AM

    Skimming over the comments sections of controversial PFT articles always brings joy to my heart

  45. imamanim40 says: Jan 6, 2012 12:30 AM

    @wideright91: dude, the whole Pats cheating thing is so old…let me remind you that, since SpyGate, tha Pats were two absolute freak plays from completing the greatest unbeaten season in NFL history and continue to dookie on the competition…stop sniffing markers, you may be able to save some brain cells

  46. acieu says: Jan 6, 2012 12:32 AM

    Expectations are low. Keep the coaching staff from lowering their zippers.

  47. romangabriel says: Jan 6, 2012 12:34 AM

    zimaman says:
    Jan 5, 2012 11:20 PM

    R u kidding?

    First of all the real OC is #12 Tom Brady and as long as he is standing back there this team will always be in the playoffs with 10 + wins

    Second, O’Brien is not leaving until Patriots are eliminated from contention. Thats SOP in these cases.

    Third, don’t be surprised if Josh MacDaniels does not magically appear in Foxboro next year
    ————————————————–

    Oh good! Someone I read today said that when Fisher returns to the Rams he has no interest in keeping McDaniel around. I’m glad he won’t be unemployed…

  48. romangabriel says: Jan 6, 2012 12:38 AM

    profootballwalk says:
    Jan 5, 2012 11:03 PM
    Throw the ball to Gronkowski.Throw the ball to Welker. Throw the ball to Hernandez. Repeat.
    —————————————————-

    I hope Tom Terrific doesn’t forget to throw it to Ed Reed at least a couple of times…

  49. coachglove says: Jan 6, 2012 12:39 AM

    “will try to fill the shoes of Joe Paterno while at the same time carrying the anchor that Paterno’s top lieutenant, Jerry Sandusky, dropped onto the entire program.”

    A FORMER assistant coach/DC. This wasn’t a mod organization and Sandusky wasn’t anything to Paterno except a former coach when the anchor was dropped on the program.

    O’Brien has nothing to lose. If he wins with PSU, he is a hero. If he loses, it’s what’s expected.

  50. jessethegreat says: Jan 6, 2012 12:40 AM

    It’s a good thing Brady has been a member of the system for so long…. I bet he knows the playbook better than O’Brien. He might call a few more plays to Gronk and put that regular season + playoffs record out of reach.

  51. Patskrieg dot com says: Jan 6, 2012 12:50 AM

    Do the math folks. Brady won 3 Super Bowls and set the single season TD record without O’Brien. He’s 0-2 in the post season with him. You tell me who made who look good. Enjoy Diet Charlie Weiss Penn State fans.

  52. edgeofepic says: Jan 6, 2012 1:16 AM

    Bill
    Will you call any running plays? Will you have any running backs on the team? Actually, it’s probably best you don’t. You call the worst running plays at the most inopportune times.
    See you on the job market in 2-3 years.

  53. bengalsown says: Jan 6, 2012 1:33 AM

    Why would Penn State hire a big name coach, when all that’s going to happen is failure for a few years? Hire this no-name, and when things clear up and Penn St.’s name isn’t as tarnished, that’s when they should hire the big name guy.

  54. lawyermalloy says: Jan 6, 2012 3:56 AM

    Bill Belichick’s assitants, Coordinaters and even G.M.s, also under his control, are all “system guys” that can’t seem to function on their own outside of the system.

  55. bearsrulepackdrool says: Jan 6, 2012 4:35 AM

    stay away from little boys and showers.

  56. insider7 says: Jan 6, 2012 4:35 AM

    Perhaps Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator who oversaw the amazing 2007 production by this offense (50 TD passes by Brady, etc…), is going to slide back into this position. If so, the Pats won’t miss a beat.

  57. amchez11 says: Jan 6, 2012 4:55 AM

    WOW! the stars are aligning perfectly for a Mangini / Belichick reunion. Too bad Mangini still owes him and the patriots around 1.5 million dollars and Darrelle Revis!

  58. 1bigtex says: Jan 6, 2012 5:05 AM

    Not good to be the guy who replaces a legend. Much better to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the legend. Additionally, recruiting will be a challenge for some time to come.

    Good luck to whoever ends up with that job because they’re going to need lots of it.

  59. altoonisgod says: Jan 6, 2012 5:56 AM

    As a fan of Penn State who also hates the Patriots. I just hope he brings some of that camera equipment with him because he will not be able to recruit worth a damn.

  60. steelbreeze676 says: Jan 6, 2012 6:07 AM

    Penn State sucks forever.

  61. gimmeabruschi says: Jan 6, 2012 6:10 AM

    Mere weeks after he bites the hand that feeds him he is sentenced to hell on Earth. Only an idiot would be the first one in on that Penn State job. Justice is done to an ignorant ingrate.

  62. TheWizard says: Jan 6, 2012 6:14 AM

    I’m sure Belichick is gonna love having to address this at his upcoming press conferences

    Simple. He’ll be “focused on the next opponent” and “moving on to next week”

    Been doing this so long I can hear it without trying.

    Would it really hurt, I wonder, to answer a question honestly and not act like he works at Groom Lake?

  63. pattunya says: Jan 6, 2012 6:15 AM

    bobby4413….Belicheat? video cameras?

    ————————————-

    Is that what youre bringing to the table? Really? How about some, Your Mamas so ugly jokes? Sorry if the Pats keep beating your team. But try and move on or use that pea brain to come up with better jokes.
    BTW, Pats are in the playoffs. We didnt use cameras this year.

  64. alewatcher says: Jan 6, 2012 6:50 AM

    Hard to think of a more toxic job than taking over at Penn State.

  65. hscorpio says: Jan 6, 2012 6:51 AM

    I’m glad Tom Clements didn’t get the job. I like him right where he is, developing guys like Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn.

    Time to get to work on Graham Harrell, Tom!

  66. patriotera says: Jan 6, 2012 6:58 AM

    I hate college sports

  67. acieu says: Jan 6, 2012 6:58 AM

    He will be a success as PSU has only one expectation. Make sure the coaching staff keeps their pants zipped up.

  68. worldwidebleater says: Jan 6, 2012 7:18 AM

    cowhawkfan says:Jan 5, 2012 11:09 PM

    Penn State is a good program that had a few bad apples compounded by errors in judgement. As far as I know, there is only one alleged pedophile attached to the football team. Let’s not color an entire population by one man’s crime.
    ———————————————

    One man’s crime? Three have been indicted, and one 84 year old should be at least punched in the giblets for not following up.

  69. dickroy says: Jan 6, 2012 7:29 AM

    casey anthony just trolls everywhere.

  70. jimyritz says: Jan 6, 2012 7:46 AM

    Good luck Bill…My guess is that he’s there for 2-3 years and then gets fired…It’s a nice pay day but that job will have a ton of pressure and he’s not a Penn St guy…As a Pats fans I couldn’t care less rather have someone else as the OC…

  71. sj39 says: Jan 6, 2012 7:55 AM

    jasons81 says:
    Jan 5, 2012 11:05 PM
    They were fine when Weiss left in ’05, they’ll be fine this year. Brady is the real OC.

    Must be a relatively new football fan. You are confusing Tom Brady with Payton Manning.

  72. test2402 says: Jan 6, 2012 8:13 AM

    Tim Tebow prays for him.

  73. holeinone09 says: Jan 6, 2012 8:54 AM

    caseyanthonymunoz’ manlove obsessive trolling for the Steelers is really funny! And obvious, as he breathlessly awaits for the next Steeler story!

  74. fissels says: Jan 6, 2012 9:39 AM

    This is a great opportunity for O’Brien. He has one main goal. Prove that the program still has integrity. Prove that the program can produce outstanding men as well as wins. It may take a while but it’s a worthy challenge.

  75. bingobrown12 says: Jan 6, 2012 10:17 AM

    For crying out loud,that’s the fourth OC the Pat’s
    have lost.

  76. hineswardcriesafterfumbling says: Jan 6, 2012 10:52 AM

    I don’t like Penn State, but follow them somewhat because of proximity. I don’t see why there is such a reaction to this hire. Penn State needed to hire a coach that wasn’t connected to the program. They had to. With the grotesque scandal still unfolding, it was highly unlikely they’d get a big name. So, you get the Pats OC. I know the track record for the Belichick coaching tree is less than stellar, but Penn State’s offense was 11th in the Big 10 in point production. An NFL offensive mind, can’t possibly do anything to hurt that.

    Penn State will still recruit well from the state simply because it’s Penn State. The name still has weight in PA, and there are probably a bunch of high school players who would love to commit to Penn State and be the ones that upheld the tradition rather than allowing it to become a low level Big 10 team. Just my two cents.

  77. zurnvs says: Jan 7, 2012 7:38 AM

    Rich Rodriguez = Bill O’Brian
    This is that type of hire when you don’t get cooperation from your fans and alumni.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!