According to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Houston Texans have agreed to an interview with 2012's Bear Bryant Award winner, Big Ten coach of the year and Maxwell coach of the year, Bill O'Brien of Penn State. O'Brien is the 15th head coach in the program's history and replaced Joe Paterno after the child sex abuse scandal in 2011.
Compiling a 15-9 record in two seasons, O'Brien has led a program sanctioned with a four-year postseason ban and a loss of 40 scholarships over a four-year period from the sandal.
The investigation broke out in 2011 involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting eight underage boys on campus property. It resulted in Sandusky receiving a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison, as well as school president Graham Spanier and athletic director Tim Curley resigning from their positions.
It also saw Paterno released from his duties after serving 63 years as a coach at Penn State. His firing came after the Freeh reported concluded that Paterno concealed information about Sandusky sexually assaulting the victims. It was a long tenured career overshadowed by the unthinkable travesty.
Despite the situation O'Brien was heading into the summer of 2012, he found a way to overcome that adversity, finishing the season 8-4. It was the most wins ever by a first year coach at Penn State in the school's history.
O'Brien has been a top candidate for a head coaching job in the NFL since 2011 when he was the offensive coordinator for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. He interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns positions in January, 2013 before deciding to come back to University Park for another year, stating "I'm not a one-and-done guy."
Along with Lovie Smith, O'Brien is a favorite for the head coaching position in Houston. The Texans are coming off of a rather embarrassing season. With Super Bowl aspirations last offseason, they now find themselves 2-13 heading into week 17 and have a good chance to acquire the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
O'Brien will be walking into an ideal situation if hired as the next Texans head coach. The team already has one of the most high powered offenses in the league, which includes running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson. On the other side of the ball, J.J. Watt and Brian Cushing lead a defense that ranks third in opposing pass yards (197.5) and 24th in opposing rushing yards (120.5).
His contract at Penn State will finish during 2016 and includes a 6.48 million buyout. Although it was reduced from $19 million last season, it could be a huge deciding factor in O'Brien receiving an NFL coaching job. It'll be interesting if O'Brien takes the Houston job, how he turns them around to be a contender in the AFC again with an injury plagued team led by a young quarterback in Case Keenum.
Friday, December 27, 2013
Why Bill O'Brien and the Houston Texans Make an Ideal Couple
I'm a student beat writer for CMUChippewas.com, covering Central Michigan University athletics, while currently interning at isportsweb.com. I'm also the Vice President of Public Relations for the Interfraternity Council at Central Michigan.
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