Bill O'Brien is now (unofficially) officially leaving Penn State for the Houston Texans. The AP reports that two sources have said O'Brien reached an agreement with Houston, "the worst team in the NFL," Tuesday night. With the news that he'll no longer be at Penn State, one reporter divulged some fiery conversations he had with O'Brien that he withheld from previous articles because they were off the record. Not anymore.
David Jones spoke with O'Brien on December 4, 2013, to discuss the recent departure of longtime assistant Ron Vanderlinden. Jones deduced the change was firing/resignation based on coaching styles and asked O'Brien if he was concerned about a blowback from "Joe Paterno-era loyalists" who saw Vanderlinden has a bridge back to that time. O'Brien bristled.
"You can print this: You can print that I don't really give a —— what the 'Paterno people' think about what I do with this program. I've done everything I can to show respect to Coach Paterno. Everything in my power. So I could really care less about what the Paterno faction of people, or whatever you call them, think about what I do with the program. I'm tired of it.
"For any 'Paterno person' to have any objection to what I'm doing, it makes me wanna put my fist through this windshield right now."
He was just getting started:
"I'm trying to field the most competitive football team I can with near-death penalty ——ing sanctions. Every time I say something like that and somebody prints it, it's skewed as an excuse. And I'm not an excuse-maker. I'm trying to do the best I can for the kids in that program. That's all I care about is the kids in that program. As long as I'm the head football coach here."
You won't find a more succinct characterization of the college coach mentality than those last two sentences. Moments later, O'Brien still ranting, came the money quote:
"That's why, in probably about a month, they're gonna be ——ing looking for a new coach."
O'Brien soon took it back, telling Jones (much like star recruit Thomas Holley) that he was not leaving, but it appears he was most truthful when angry.
It's not surprising that it took the invocation of the P-word to set O'Brien off. It's got to be near impossible to be the guy who follows Joe Paterno at Penn State and please everyone. It's been widely reported that Bill O'Brien to the NFL was more eventuality than possibility, but this was likely just as motivating. In Houston, he's only got to be better than Gary Kubiak.
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