Report: Penn State coach O'Brien working to jump to NFL

Report: Penn State coach O'Brien working to jump to NFL
December 28, 2013, 4:30 pm
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Vinnie Duber

Bill O'Brien's tenure at Penn State might be over soon, according to a report from ESPN's Chris Mortenson.

The Nittany Lions' head coach reportedly has met with the Houston Texans and is working to have a deal to become their next head coach by next week. This after O'Brien's name was mentioned in many rumors involving NFL teams over the past couple weeks since Penn State's season ended.

Before coming to Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, O'Brien served as the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator under head coach Bill Belichick. Last year, after a terrific 8-4 season in his first year in State College, O'Brien's name was mentioned in NFL coaching rumors. He commented on them then, calling the NFL the top level in his profession, so it was assumed he had NFL interest.

Mortenson's report seems to indicate that is in fact the case.

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O'Brien has become a hot head-coaching candidate thanks to two impressive seasons at Penn State. The Lions went 8-4 in his first season and 7-5 this past year amid heavy NCAA sanctions, including loss of scholarships and a postseason ban.

This year, O'Brien showed off his offensive prowess, turning true freshman Christian Hackenberg into one of the Big Ten's best quarterbacks. Hackenberg threw for 2,955 yards, good for third in the Big Ten. Penn State ranked third in the conference in passing offense with 259.2 pass yards per game and fourth in the conference in total offense, averaging 433.2 yards per game.

For all of O'Brien's success, however, he's been the head man at Penn State for just two seasons. If he departs for the NFL, the Lions would have a new head coach for the third time in four years since the firing of Joe Paterno.