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: Nov 23, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:42 pm

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

Thanks hoops25. This is not journalism and most posters cannot distinguish between what is and what is not.

Go Hawks!

;     &nbs
p;    Sincerely,

;     &nbs
p;     &nb
sp;     &n
bsp;   Lioness

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:12 pm

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

Penn State is in a no win stuation.  At least bartow had a classy tradition to use to recruit. Forty years of excellence were snuffed out by this cancer within the program.  Alumni are wrong in wishing for a Penn State man however.  Sandusky was with the program too long for a Penn State alum not to have been around him.  Parents would natually wonder what such a man knew when he was there.

Since: Sep 29, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 8:01 pm

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

Worst career move for O'Brian here, Who wants to be the guy to follow the guy that turned away while young men got abused......

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:29 pm

Since you mentioned Gene Bartow...

IIRC, in John Wooden's last six years, he had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for three years, and Bill Walton for three.  Bartow had Ralph Drollinger, and he still managed to finish third in the NCAA Tournament.  The thing about following a legend was bad enough, but replacing Bill Walton with Ralph Drollinger was even worse.

How does this relate to PSU?   Because it looks like their inbred coaching and alumni tree is going to pull the same horse pucky on Bill O'Brien that Lloyd Carr and friends pulled on Rich Rodriguez at Michigan.  Already, it is starting to sound like the "old guard" is going to try and sabotage the new coach.  This means they are willing to sacrifice three or four years of football, not to mention the players who are playing in good faith, to get one of "their own" into the head coaching position.

What they don't realize is that if PSU is going to have a prayer of getting through all of the negative recruiting and media circus around their program, they have to clean house.  They have no choice.  They shouldn't hire anyone who has been associated with the program for the last thirty years.  

PSU is about to go down the dumper for at least ten years.  Their coach will have no chance to succed, because too many of its "supporters" will be trying to tear the new coach down.  I guess all of those alums and "supporters" must think that the program and the players will just be "collateral damage." 

Since: Oct 20, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:26 pm

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

Tom Bradley is at least as qualified as O'Brien, handled himself remarkably well when he took over for Paterno and would have rallied the greater community

I disagree! Let's take a look at what's happened since Bradley has taken over for Paterno just a few weeks ago...

1) Their starting QB gets knocked out in a locker room fight. He suffered a seizure and missed the bowl game.
2) The 2nd string QB got caught shoplifting
3) The team had a losing record under Bradley
4) They got humiliated in their bowl game

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:08 pm

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

Give us about 40 years and we alums might start to warm to the guy.

Since: Oct 20, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:00 pm

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

Obviously one of the best organizations in the NFL were impressed enough to hire him and they didn't leave him go either. Give the man a chance!

Since: Jan 1, 2012
Posted on: January 6, 2012 6:02 pm

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

Spot on and im glad I am not the only one thinking who in their right mind would use those showers.

Since: Dec 29, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 4:42 pm

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

Foolish reporting here.  Nobody knows if it's a good hire or not yet.  I'm guessing some folks thought CBS was clueless when they hired you Dodd.

Since: Oct 8, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 4:23 pm

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

Mr. Dodd,

You have succeeded at becoming a 'BUM' of a journalist.  You do an exceptional job at trashing people/programs from a distance.  I appreciated your position on the hiring of O'Brien and I understand the track record of previous Patriot coaches who became head coaches.  However, your ability to cause more pain for those involved in the Sandusky/Penn St case was utterly pathetic and embarrassing.  This article would have been stronger without the reference to recruits to the program and where they will shower.  Further, you mentioned reasons why recruits would turn down playing at Penn St...but you only listed one.  Given your experience as a sure seem to get many things wrong in your published articles. would do well to part ways with you because of your poor journalistic skill.

Go Hawks!!!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or