For the second-straight year, Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien’s name is being tossed around among NFL teams looking for a new coach. According to reports that came out Sunday, O’Brien has already been contacted by the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans. In his two seasons so far as leader of the Nittany Lions, the popular coach has put up 15 wins despite difficult circumstances brought on by the harsh NCAA sanctions.
The fact that there is already talk about NFL teams being interested in O’Brien should not be surprising at all to Penn State fans. While the news may be upsetting to some, it’s bound to continue as long as O’Brien stays in college. He has an attractive resume that should be impressive to any team.
After the 2012 season, O’Brien was contacted by several teams and was reportedly close to taking the head coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles.
O’Brien has quickly shown that he is a talented head coach who has quickly jumped to the top of many NFL teams’ lists.
Just months after accepting the Penn State job in 2012, the program was hit with a four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions that could have severely hampered the team’s success. Several starters chose to transfer from the school, leaving O’Brien with a thin depth chart just weeks before the season. However, despite the challenges, the 2012 team pulled together under their new coach and had one of the most magical seasons in Penn State football history, putting up an improbable eight wins.
O’Brien’s ability to recruit the best players could have been damaged by the sanctions. However, he used his NFL pedigree and success in his first year to still bring top talent to Penn State. His first recruiting class was highlighted by top prospects Christian Hackenberg and Adam Breneman.
Things were a little tougher for the Nittany Lions in 2013, but the team still finished with seven wins.
Now, when many NFL teams are beginning to think about next year, this is the prime time to recruit a new coach. O’Brien has great experience and has already proven that he can be a successful head coach.
While most fans proably don’t want to think about O’Brien leaving the Nittany Lions, it’s a reality that could happen sooner rather than later. Of course it’s still speculation at this point, but the fact that O’Brien is drawing a lot of interest should be surprising to no one.
Follow VBR Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr. on Twitter