Blog Entry

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:13 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 10:25 am
Tom Brady looks better every day. Every day, that is, an assistant gets hired away from the Patriots.

It’s a great thing to work for the Pats, at the top of your profession, chasing Super Bowls each season. A stark reality set in when Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini and Josh McDaniels left. They don’t necessarily get better. Their former franchise just keeps chugging along.

Freeman: Penn State should quit whining over good hire

See a pattern here? No. 12. He’s still there winning games without them.

With that, we present Bill O’Brien as the new coach at Penn State. O’Brien is the Patriots offensive coordinator. He is most famous to a large part of the population at the moment for getting into a sideline spat with Brady. For that transgression he was allowed to live.

Now he goes to Happy Valley where his career could die.

Maybe that’s not fair, but the one conclusion we can draw from this convoluted coaching search is that Penn State didn’t have a clue. If there was ever a time to hire a search firm, this was it. It didn’t. Instead, it looks like there were warring factions inside the search. What did Penn State want? We’re still not sure.

At least the school made a swift, definitive and convincing statement. Swift if you consider it was 45 days between Paterno’s firing and O’Brien’s reported hiring. Definitive if you consider that everyone but Knute Rockne turned down the job/used it for a raise/laughed into the phone when contacted.

Convincing if you consider that O’Brien, 42, may be nothing more than a sacrificial door jamb in big, cosmic coaching-go-round -- a go-between while Penn State football rights itself and the next Urban Meyer comes along. It’s only been a couple of days since he passed but let’s not forget that it was the late, great Gene Bartow who taught us never to be the guy to follow the guy.

Until his unsightly downfall, Paterno was college football’s Wooden. Paterno’s legacy is stained forever. But when the dust and lawyers settle, O’Brien will eventually be asked match a long, successful legacy that produced a .749 winning percentage.

Contract details have not been announced but if O’Brien doesn’t get at least a seven-year contract, he should fire his agent. The job was toxic before O’Brien took it. It’s going to take a while to clean it up. O’Brien is not the sexy hire that is going to talk undecided recruits in off the ledge. But the school couldn’t afford a sexy hire image-wise. That would have been sending the wrong message for a program that obviously has been worshipping at the altar of Paterno for too long.

During these 45 days, Penn State aimed high, scoured low and came up with a guy who is supposed to do what? Deconstruct and rebuild the program? Win the Big Ten next year?

Penn State would prefer to win quietly, out of the spotlight. That, of course, is impossible.

Fans with thousands invested in personal seat licenses aren’t going to stand for a de-emphasis of football. Winning the Big Ten anytime time soon seems impossible, too. There will be a faction of recruits who stay away from Penn State for obvious reasons: They don’t want to shower in the same place where a youth may have been sodomized.

There is still another faction of recruits who will always go there because they believe they can get to the NFL. That may sustain the program. O’Brien will say the right things and try to restore faith in football, school and community.

Time, then, for introductions all around. O’Brien has been New England’s OC since 2008. He has 14 years college experience as an assistant but none as a head coach. The Duke teams he was associated with went 1-22.

There are cautionary tales all around him: Weis parlayed the promise of seven games at Notre Dame into a 10-year contract. He is currently at Kansas trying to rebuild the Jayhawks and rehab his coaching image. Crennel is 26-41 as an NFL head coach. McDaniels lasted less than two years as coach of the Broncos. Magini is doing TV analysis.

O’Brien’s future awaits. Ironically, he needs a quarterback at Penn State for starters. Suddenly, for him, there are no Tom Bradys in sight.

Since: Mar 9, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:10 am

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

Its a gamble for both sides involved. This job is almost untouchable until the trial is over and the dust settled a bit, unfortunately with recruiting there can't be any kind of hesitation. Penn State could've went with a safer selection, however in the end its a low risk proposition. If O'Brien ends up being the offensive guru we need to catapult Penn State, then great. If not they fire him after 2 or 3 years when the dust has settled more, then they try and land the big fish. Either way its a tough road ahead.

Since: Apr 4, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:09 am

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

O'Brien pissed out more football knowledge this morning than Dodd has ever had, yet he is compelled to weigh inlike he knows what he's talking about.

Since: Jun 11, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:04 am

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

This is a perfect hire for Penn St, most coaches that replace legends fail! see what happened with Lombardi, Shula,Bear Bryant, Woody Hayes, Osbourne, Switzer and John Wooden, all their replacements failed,  the two that I can think of that had some success are Bill Cower, and Jimmy Johnson in Dallas, but for the most part it will take at least 5 years, proberly longer, to get this program back to being elite again! and Bill O'brien should not worry too much, even if he fails, Bill Belichek failed his first time out with the Cleveland Browns, so he will get another opportunity! two years with O'brien, then bring in a Big name coach. &nbs

Since: Apr 13, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:59 am

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

'Once again, Joe Pa didn't do anything wrong.'

Well, in my opinion, while not as culpable as Mike McQueary or the perpetrator himself, Joe Paterno is certainly not blameless here.  All those with even passing knowledge of what occurred in Happy Valley that 'passed the buck' at best are pretty reprehensible.  I feel for Paterno somewhat becuase who knows how lucid he was even almost a decade ago & he was from a different generation I suppose, but I don't feel for him very strongly at all compared to the victim that night or the subsequent victims who were abused becuase the atrocity in the grand jury report went unchecked.    

Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:48 am

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

I love how unoriginal idiots without the intelligence to say something relevant resorts to bashing a conference (SEC), even though it has absolutely othing to dow ith what they are supposedly commenting on.  I don't even remember the moron's name, and he certainly isn't worth the time to go back and look, but he was the jack-off saying an SEC team could hire Stalin or something....well, they could do worse than STalin....they could hire Obama.  Say what you will against ole Joe Stalin, at least he isn't a traitor to his country like Yomama is.

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:40 am

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

Once again, Joe Pa didn't do anything wrong.  All these writers and SEC lover want to tarnish northeast programs because our students can actually read, graduate college and can read and write at a college level.  They are tired of hearing how great Penn State is and how ethical Paterno was and now they think they can sling accusations at both the school and the coach.  The perpetrator was not even associated with Penn State other than thru his school and Paterno acted appropriatly (per a judges ruling). 

Since: Apr 13, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:36 am

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

This is a great opportunity for Rutgers to clean up in Eastern PA.

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:33 am

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

Penn State is desperately trying to recover and move on from a scandal that has just started, and has yet to bloom to it's full potential. It's far too early to perform a post mortem on something that is very much alive. The details on the ring of investors (JoePa, Spanier, AD, BOT President, etc)  in the Second Mile real estate project, their connections, and their motives back at the time of the Sandusky investigation in 2005 will be damning. It's always about the money, and all of those people were in a position to lose a substantial amount of cash had the Sandusky thing broke back then. Even more threatening is the threat of links between Sandusky and well heeled firends of the program regarding arranged meetings with young boys. This thing is just getting started. It will all come back to the front pages once the investigation is completed, and it gets to trial. Sports Illustrated did a survey a couple years back to determine which 1-A football programs had the most players on roster with criminal backgrounds. Of all the schools in the nation, Penn State was at the top of the list with 22. Pitt was second on the list. Boise State was third. All is not happy in Happy Valley, and much of the perception about the Penn State program was illusion. Sure, the numbers are real, the funding is real, and the on the field results are real, but all of the mystique and image stuff was a facade. There is a lot of darkness in the shadows of Happy Valley. Absolute power corrupts, and Penn State is a shining example of a power structure built and controlled by a single man, with no oversight, for decades. This is not a condemnation of Penn State, as the entire saga speaks for itself. A serial killer doesn't need someone to point a finger at them and identify them as a murderer. Is Penn State the only football factory that has these problems? Of course not. We all know the usual suspects. But this isn't about the others. Some have had their time in the spotlight of scandal, and now it's Penn State's time to shine. The difference with Penn State is the illusion of moral superiority and Alice in Wonderland schtick they have been peddling all these years. Much like Ohio State. The "we do things differently here" rhetoric is nothing more than propaganda. Time to face the music. And for those who think this stuff will ever go away and be're kidding yourselves. The stench of the Sandusky affair will stick with Penn State through eternity. They will forever be known as Pedo State and Sodomy U. This is much bigger than football, and isn't even about football. PSU alums will never, ever be able to hold their heads in the manner of which they have over the past forty years. We Are? Everybody knows what you are. And nobody is envious.

Since: Mar 8, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:32 am

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

Dude what the heck does the SEC have to do with anything in this article?? As much as I dislike Dodd he has a point!! This guy has NEVER been a head coach at any level and to put him in this situation where the alumni are already against him will be tough!! Everything I have heard about this guy has been positive and that he is one class act and for that I am wishing him well not just for hisself but for the fans at Penn State who I had the pleasure of tailgating with the last 2 years playing against Bama!! Classy fans!! My advice is to get behind your coach whether you like the hire or not I have seen firsthand what division among fans can do!! Good luck St and Roll Tide!!

Since: Sep 23, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:27 am

O'Brien hire shows Penn State didn't have a clue

The fact of the matter is that no one knows how this hire will turn out. I give PSU credit for taking a gamble. They were not getting a big name coach given the current situation. Let's see what happens.

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