Firmly, Bill O’Brien Makes His Case
Early in his Monday morning press conference, Bill O’Brien mentioned having recently returned from a family trip to Disney World. “I’ve been on more roller coasters in the past four, five days than I’ve been on in my life,” he said. It wasn’t entirely clear if he was simply making small talk before he got to the meat of his speech, or if he meant it as a metaphorical hint at what he was about to say. Intentional or not, it was hard to ignore.
A year to the day after he was introduced as Penn State’s new football coach, O’Brien on Monday met the media at Beaver Stadium to address the roller coaster of news and (mostly) rumors that twisted and roared through the web over the past five days. His message, in short: He wasn’t looking for a new job, he hadn’t played the interest of NFL teams for more money or leverage in his current job, and he’s focused on staying—and winning—at Penn State.
You can read coverage of O’Brien’s presser here, here, and here, but for the full effect, it’s worth watching the video, which you can find in its entirety here. For 40 minutes—he spoke, with some emotion, for 15 minutes before taking questions for another 25—O’Brien made his case. He came off impassioned, and at times frustrated, but above all adamant about his commitment to Penn State. He hasn’t—and at this point, clearly won’t—put an end date on that commitment. That’s something that Nittany Lion fans, like those of every other major college football program in the nation, will simply have to accept.
My take? O’Brien won’t ever close the door on a chance at being an NFL head coach, nor should he—as he said Monday, it’s the pinnacle of his chosen profession, and for someone so obviously competitive and capable, it’d be crazy to think he wouldn’t want to test himself at that level. But I don’t think he’s in a hurry to get there, and I think that as long as he feels he has the tools to succeed at Penn State, he’ll be here for a while. Whether that means two years or 20, I have no idea. I don’t think O’Brien knows, either. But I’m convinced he’ll put everything he has into the job while he’s here. I’m looking forward to watching him work.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
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