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March 2, 2024

Ohio State Hires Bill O’Brien as New Offensive Coordinator

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Jan 19, 2024

Buckeyes Tap Former NFL Head Coach to Lead Offense

The Ohio State Buckeyes have made a major coaching move, hiring former NFL head coach Bill O’Brien as their new offensive coordinator, according to multiple reports. O’Brien, who most recently served as offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, will take over playcalling duties for the Buckeyes after spending the past two seasons in the NFL.

Sources told ESPN’s Pete Thamel and ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter that O’Brien and Ohio State finalized a deal on Wednesday night that will bring the veteran coach back to the collegiate ranks. O’Brien replaces Kevin Wilson, who left Ohio State earlier this month to take the head coaching job at Tulsa.

The hiring represents a bold move by Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day, who will relinquish offensive play calling responsibilities to O’Brien next season. Day has led Ohio State to a dynamic offense and back-to-back College Football Playoff appearances in his first two years as head coach, but believes bringing in O’Brien’s experience can take the Buckeyes to another level.

“I couldn’t be more excited for Bill to join our staff,” Day said in a statement. “His track record of developing offenses and preparing quarterbacks for the NFL will keep our offense among the best in the country.”

O’Brien Brings Wealth of Experience

The 53-year-old O’Brien has 15 years of NFL coaching experience, including serving as head coach of the Houston Texans from 2014 to 2020 where he led the team to four AFC South division titles. O’Brien has also made several stops as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at both the NFL and collegiate levels:

Year Team Role
2007-2011 New England Patriots Offensive assistant
2012 Penn State Head coach
2013-2013 Houston Texans Head coach
2021-2023 New England Patriots Offensive coordinator

In between his Houston and New England stints, O’Brien spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama under head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide won back-to-back national championships in 2020 and 2021 with O’Brien running the offense and working closely with quarterbacks Mac Jones and Bryce Young.

O’Brien is perhaps best known for his time at Penn State, where he took over a program still reeling from NCAA sanctions and coached the Nittany Lions to winning seasons in 2012 and 2013 before departing for the Texans. O’Brien was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2012 for leading Penn State to an 8-4 record just months after crippling sanctions were handed down.

“Bill is a proven winner at both the NFL and college level,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “He has shown the ability to adapt his offensive system to the strength of his players and we’re thrilled to welcome his leadership and experience to Ohio State.”

What This Means for Ohio State

Bringing in O’Brien signals Ohio State’s eagerness to take the offense to new heights following the departure of productive coordinator Kevin Wilson. Ohio State has fielded a top-five scoring offense in the country in each of the past two seasons under Day’s leadership, averaging over 45 points per game.

However, the Buckeyes sputtered at times last season, specifically in their 45-23 loss to rival Michigan. Ohio State managed just four second-half points as its College Football Playoff hopes evaporated.

O’Brien has a history of elevating talented offenses and stands to make an instant impact with a Buckeyes attack filled with playmakers. His work with quarterbacks could also accelerate the development of 2023 starter Kyle McCord, a former 5-star recruit with sky-high potential.

On top of his offensive acumen, O’Brien offers Ohio State a direct pipeline to the pros. Eleven of his former players have been selected in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, including Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. Developing next-level talent has been a priority for Day as he looks to match Clemson and Alabama as consistent CFP contenders.

“When Urban Meyer stepped down my focus turned to hiring a replacement who could take our offense to the highest level,” Day said. “Bill O’Brien has coached top ten offenses at just about every stop, including leading the top-ranked offense with the Patriots this past season. His resumé speaks for itself and our players are eager to learn from another brilliant offensive mind.”

What Happens Next

  • O’Brien will finish out his obligations as Patriots offensive coordinator through the NFL postseason before shifting his full attention to Ohio State. The Patriots host the Bengals on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.

  • O’Brien will dive into film study and begin shaping plans for Ohio State’s offense next season. Priority one will be identifying playmakers and tailoring his system to maximize talent.

  • Ohio State may look to add another offensive assistant to replace O’Brien’s vacancy. Tight ends coach Kevin Wilson also needs to be replaced after departing for Tulsa. O’Brien could look to bring aboard former Patriots assistants to build out his offensive staff.

  • Spring practices will offer the first glimpse at how O’Brien’s influence shapes Ohio State’s offense for 2023. Key areas to watch will be scheme changes, quarterback development, and overall tempo/aggressiveness.

  • O’Brien’s impact will truly take hold over the summer once he has a chance to drill concepts and build chemistry with his new personnel. Come fall camp in August, Ohio State’s offense under O’Brien will have a much clearer identity.

The hiring of Bill O’Brien ushers in the next chapter for Ohio State football. Expectations will be sky-high for the Buckeyes offense with O’Brien now running the show. After years of orchestrating NFL attacks, O’Brien will look to push Ohio State’s talent to an elite level as the program seeks its first national championship since 2014.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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