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: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:10 am

Wrong Hire

Bad hire for sure, but certainly not because the guy doesn't have the "intangible" Penn State background.  There is something clearly wrong with that intangible that Arrington and others cite in their complaints, and PSU needs to get as FAR AWAY from that as possible.  The problem with the hire is that the guy is unproven and probably will stink at the HC job at a major football college.  Penn State should have used this hire to find a football-based image chain, to chuck the extremely boring, and I mean boring, lifeless play of the past several years.  Forget the scandal, that is separate and should be separate as incoming students are not responsible for that and should not bear that burden.  Keep and improve the PSU Defense, but for goodness sakes, find an OFFENSE worth watching.  The hire should have been someone from the Mike Leach and Hal Mumme coaching tree, or someone skillfully trained in those Offensive Arts.

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:05 am

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

tr88 Penn State changed AD and President BUTT they still have a "history" with the Penn State.  No ONE in a leadership positionat Penn State should have any prior ties to Penn State. 

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:05 am

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

I don't think I'd want this job. I mean there are jobs where it is basically a mountain to climb, like a Duke or a Wake or a Vandy. But Penn State is a toxic landfill where if you go there you have to put on a HAZMAT suit just to avoid getting poisoned. Being a head coach doesn't allow HAZMAT protection.

O'Brien is gonna have to field a team, deal with off the field issues that he had nothing to do with that will affect how he fields his team, and live with Penn State fan who will hate him simply because he isn't Joe Paterno. I'm certain I'm missing some elements here. But even on the ones I included there is no way in the world I'd go coach there.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:01 am

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

O'Brien wanted the job so when you say "nobody" wanted the job, youre obviously mistaken.

Someone is a little touchy, and acting like their backside is sore. Did you shower with Sandusky also?

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:00 am

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

I'm not sure that this is a good example of "don't be the guy that follows THE guy" situation.  While JoePa is a legend, the circumstances surrounding his firing are disgraceful, and while the program has remained competitive, it has not really been a national championship contender in quite some time....last winning a national championship in 1986.  Penn State fans and alumni will line up and quickly support another coach as long as that next coach wins.  That said, I don't know of anyone that is actually excited about the Bill O'Brien hire.  He may work out great, but he doesn't have a track record of meaningful success outside of what he has done with Tom Brady and New England...which was humming along just fine before he got there.

Since: Jul 15, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:00 am

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

This is NOT a permanent fix; merely a temporary win-win for both coach and school.  PSU found somebody to clean up the mess for three years, and O'Brien will get some experience as the Head Coach of a major program.  After 36 months they'll part ways, and both will be better off for the decision.

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:57 am

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

After a very, very long winded attempt at appearing intelligent  closed with this 3rd grade vomit..."
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."

Nice closing arguement...You completely made everything else you wrote disappear.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:57 am

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

"Dodd, Beaver Stadium doesn't have seat licenses.  If you got this one thing wrong, everything else you have written has zero credibility."

Dodd isn't totally wrong. They don't have a seat licenses BUT they do tell you how much you must "donate" to keep your seats. It varies depending on where your seats are and as far as I'm concerned it's the next best thing to having one. That's why after 25yrs of having season tickets I got rid of them this year.

Since: Jan 2, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:54 am

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

This is a horrible hire.  All that matters in college football is recruiting.  And all PSU can hope for in the next few years is to recruit the western Pennsylvania PSU-diehards.  Here's the catch:  When O'Brien is sitting at the kitchen table going over his resume as OC for the Pats, the only thing the player and family will be thinking is "I hate the Pats!"  Everyone in western PA hates the Pats - playing for O'Brien will be like being a traitor to the Steelers.

Since: Jan 5, 2012
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:54 am

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

Well if you're a high school TE, head to Penn State.

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