New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will be announced as the new head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions this Saturday, according to Chris Mortenson of ESPN. O'Brien's name shot up as a potential replacement for the legendary Joe Paterno seemingly out of the blue at the close of December, with reports saying he was "on the verge" of taking over in Happy Valley. Just a few days ago, he released a statement through his agent saying that any connection between him and the Penn State job was "off-base," however. On Wednesday Jason LaCanfora reported that O'Brien would interview after all, leading to Thursday night's report from Mortenson.
O'Brien spent the better part of his coaching career in the college ranks before joining the Patriots in 2007. He had stops at Georgia Tech (2001-2002 offensive coordinator), Maryland (2003-2004 running backs coach) and Duke (2005-2006 offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach) before turning to the pro ranks. His ties on the East coast should benefit a Penn State squad in rebuilding mode.
For more on O'Brien and the Penn State Nittany Lions, head over to the SB Nation blog Black Shoe Diaries.