Bill O'Brien Penn State Rumors: Will Bill Belichick Coaching Tree Grow Further?

David Daniels@TheRealDDanielsSenior Writer IJanuary 5, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10:  Head coach Bill Belichick (R) and quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien (L) of the New England Patriots look on against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Bill Belichick’s secrets will soon be spread throughout the football world.  Yet another one of his assistant coaches is primed to leave the New England Patriots for a promotion.  Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien may just end up being the next JoPa.

According to the NFL.com’s Jason LaCanafora, O’Brien is interviewing for the Penn State job, and a deal could be reached soon. 

Such news may not be music to Nittany Lions fans’ ears, because the coordinator is not a Penn State guy.  He has no link to the college whatsoever.

O’Brien grew up in Massachusetts, attended Brown University in Rhode Island, moved on to Georgia Tech, Maryland, Duke and then to the Patriots.  He doesn’t even have a link to the state of Pennsylvania.  Interviewing O’Brien to replace Joe Paterno has to be disappointing news when a candidate like Mike Munchak’s name was thrown around as a potential hire.

Munchak grew up in Scranton, PA and played four years under Paterno at Penn State.  For the Nittany Lions to interview O’Brien over Munchak, the Tennessee Titans head coach must be committed to his current position.

If O’Brien does end up getting hired by the limping school, Belichick’s coaching tree would sprout to incredible heights. 

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Six of his assistants have become head coaches in the NFL, including Romeo Crennel, Al Groh, Josh McDaniels, Eric Mangini, Nick Saban and Jim Schwartz.  Five have become Division 1 college football head coaches in Kirk Ferentz, Al Ghoh, Pat Hill, Nick Saban and Charlie Weis, and O’Brien would make that number six.  One assistant even became a head coach in the Canadian Football League in John Hufnagel.  I don’t know if that’s actually a promotion, though.

Belichick’s assistants haven’t exactly been sure-fire hires in the past, so hopefully, for the Nittany Lions' sake, they find the next Saban, not Weis.

David Daniels is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.

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