It’s another offseason in Happy Valley, and that means a second-straight year of speculation about the future of head coach Bill O’Brien. With the NFL regular season winding down, this is prime hunting time for teams that will be in need of a new head coach. According to Jason La Canfora of cbssports.com, O’Brien has already been contacted by Houston and Minnesota.
While this news is not what Penn State fans want to hear, the fact that O’Brien is drawing the interest of NFL teams is not surprising. After leading the Nittany Lions to a successful eight-win season last year, O’Brien was close to leaving Penn State and taking the then-vacant job with the Philadelphia Eagles. However, he stayed loyal to his senior class and returned for a second season at Penn State. Though the 2013 season was full of ups and downs, the Nittany Lions still finished with a respectable record of 7-5.
Before coming to Penn State, O’Brien was an offensive coach under Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots. During his time there, the Patriots had a very successful passing game that featured using talented tight ends as receiving targets.
In his two seasons so far at Penn State, O’Brien has been credited with grooming two successful quarterbacks.
Former walk-on Matt McGloin had been inconsistent before last season, when he flourished in O’Brien’s NFL-style offense. McGloin ended up being the top passer in the Big Ten and is currently a starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders. This past season, O’Brien helped true freshman Christian Hackenberg put together a great season that ended with him being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
According to the report, O’Brien is interested in returning to the NFL. While the Texans and Vikings have already shown interest, he could also be in line to take over in Washington if Mike Shannahan should be let go.
With the success that O’Brien has had under difficult circumstances at Penn State and his previous experience, he makes an attractive candidate for any head coaching job, especially in the NFL.
Of course, just like last year, this is merely speculation at this point. Stay tuned to VBR for any updates on the situation.
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