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: Jan 26, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:53 am

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

Another article showing how your lagacy is permantly stained Mr. Dodd as you are the most negative pinheaded writer I have come across. So you know that O'Brien will fail and you think that JoePA's legacy is stained permantley even though he is not guilty of anything yet, and you say Penn ST. will never win the big10, your claravoyence knowledge is overwhelming. You are just another example of an egotistical meathead that worships his own opinions. Why not wait and see what 2012 holds??? oh yeh...your crystal ball has already spoken. 

Since: Apr 4, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:49 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.

Since: Apr 4, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:47 am

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

The already have a new President, AD and Coach. Can I get your prediction on tonight's Powerball, yo useem to have exception powers, despite your ignorance.

Since: Apr 4, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:45 am

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

The do have seat licenses.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:39 am

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

Whats wrong with keeping the guy that is there now? It didn't matter who they hired, it would be the wrong guy. Nobody wants this job right now.

Since: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:35 am

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

The Obrien hire was made for one reason and one reason only. It's the safest hire Penn State could make. As the saying goes "you never want to be the guy to follow a legend, you want to be the guy that follows the guy that followed the legend". With that, let me explain why this is a safe hire. <br /><br />Penn State knows that the chances of the next coach having success are slim to none given the situation. If they were to get a "big name" and this person were to fail (which again is likely), then they would be labeled as a no win opportunity for the foreseable future and no capable coach would ever want to land there again. Obrien is the perfect hire to leave the coaching door open in the future. By Penn State taking a gamble on him they stand to lose nothing. If he somehow succeeds they look like geniuses. If he (more than likely) fails, then not all of the blame will be placed on Penn State's program. Instead of saying the Penn State program is a no win situation, people will be saying it is the Belichick coordinator curse, or that he wasn't experienced as a head coach, leaving the door open for a new coach that could still turn things around. I believe this is why the hire of Bill Obrien makes sense. The panel is looking to the long term and not just trying to win football games next year. They know this will be a long rebuilding process and took the step that gives the program the best chance to pull back out of this going forward. Smart move, even if I have to live through a few rough years as a fan.

Since: Apr 22, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:33 am

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

O'Brien will not last 3 years at Penn State.  Penn State will end up being a 2 year community college after the ENTIRE story comes out about Sandusky.  Need to bring in ALL new leadership at  Penn State (coaches, staff, AD , President, trustees) to START OVER.  I know that I once respected Penn State. 

Since: Aug 11, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:19 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.

Since: Apr 4, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:12 am

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

paterno notified the head of the campus police. What did you expect him to  do, make a "citizens arrest"? You'll notice ESPN has taken a pass despite having the tape from Bernie Fine's wife. Bill Conlin was runored to be a pedofile for decades but ESPN never investigated. Nobody circles the wagons like sportswriters who want a shot at that big media money.

Since: Jan 10, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2012 9:11 am

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

Wanted: Knowledgable sports fan reactions. Is there anyone reading that can comment on the point of the article? Please? If I wanted to be involved in conversations about Paterno doing nothing wrong or politics I'd check myself into the nearest loony bin. We hear you loud and clear Paterno apologists and politicos - AND WE DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT ANYMORE. Wake up, already.

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