O’Brien Hire Signals the End of Penn State Football

It has gone from bad to worse for Penn State football.

Penn State hired Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien this afternoon, drawing the ire of Penn State alums and former football players.  Former Penn State running back D.J. Dozier said he was upset to hear about O’Brien’s hiring.  Lavar Arrington sounded off in rather colorful fashion.

“I will put my Butkus (Award) in storage. I will put my Alamo Bowl MVP trophy in storage,” Arrington said. “Jerseys, anything Penn State, in storage. Wherever Tom Bradley goes, that’s the school I will start to put memorabilia up in my home. I’m done. I’m done with Penn State. If they’re done with us, I’m done with them.”

Why are the masses pissed you ask?  Let us count the ways:

  • O’Brien has never been a head coach on ANY level.
  • O’Brien is not a Penn State alum.
  • He played at Brown University, Joe Paterno’s alma mater (shouldn’t the bar at Penn State be higher than that?).
  • The former players and influential alums hated the hire (did I mention that already?).

Look, this is not to bash on O’Brien.  I’m sure he’s a nice guy – and may do a good job at Penn State.  But doesn’t Penn State have the pull to get an experienced retread to coach football, even if he is not a big name?

This reeks of desperation on Penn State’s part.  The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal left the football program in shambles, Penn State is desperate for ANYONE to coach its team.  Hell, they couldn’t even get the Tennessee Titans’ head football coach to come aboard.  So  Penn State basically hired a guy on the strength of this:

I think this is going to go badly for Penn State.  What kid would want to play for O’Brien and his non-coaching background?  Bad enough the school allowed a child molester to coach there and hang around the program for decades.

Now they have hired the second coming of Charlie Weiss.

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7 replies

  1. Definitely a gamble to hire this guy, and I agree — not sure what they were thinking here.

  2. The people who are criticizing this hire act as though this is a desirable job. It is far from that. No recruits are coming to Penn State for a while; not with the stigma around that program. Nobody knows what the future may bring in terms of future damage. There’s a reason it has taken two months to get to this point.

    Let me ask you a question: Who would you rather have they hired? And do you think they realistically think they could get them to take the job? Let O’Brien be the guy who spends the next five years losing to Purdue and Northwestern, because this program has a lot of 3-9 years in its near future.

    • The combination of following a coaching legend and the connection with Sandusky has really salted the earth for this program. I completely agree, let some green coach like O’Brien cut his teeth on transitioning you away from this terrible chapter in your history and at least bring some respectability back to the image of Penn State even if his winning percentage is garbage. Once your university isn’t synonymous with child abuse, hire someone who can rebuild the product on the field.

  3. Penn State was left with very few options in this coaching search. Nobody wants to a) follow a legend like Joe Paterno and b) take over a program stuck in a controversy. Add to it that the controversy is non-football related and is one of the most heinous and shocking scandals ever and you get a lot of “thanks, but no thanks” replies to job offers. Anyone connected with Penn State previously was automatically ruled out for this job because anyone with connection to the program in the last 20 years has “the Sandusky taint” and the school needs a clean break from everything about the era in Penn State football.
    This is not another run of the mill college coaching search, this is a search for someone who wants to take on a program that has fallen from the model of college football ideal to the prime example of human corruption. This isn’t the same job it was in August. They’re lucky they were able to bring in someone with any experience, let alone an NFL coordinator. If you thought they were going to hire a Penn State alum or lure some big name coach away from another program, then you’ve missed just how far Penn State University has fallen during the last three months.

    • I must say I agree with both you and JW. I was just pointing out how bad the Penn State has gotten – to the point where they had to name some no-name, albeit NFL assistant in O’Brien. It’s a desperate move because Penn State knows its football program is in the crapper right now…

      • It’s definitely not the program it was last January. I don’t think you can evaluate this on how well it’s going to help the football team as much as just getting someone who is different from who has been there. The people talking about the Penn State “family” aren’t helping, because that insider mentality is what caused a lot of their current troubles.

  4. Penn State didn’t get a high profile name because they are not willing to pay! PERIOD! Hell look at Arkansas…..yes I said Arkansas. That state is much much smaller than PA and that school paid it’s head coach Patrino 3.6. Arkansas will be a top five team at the end of the bowl season when the last rankings come out. You get what you pay for!

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