Penn State Football: The Moment Of Truth Arrives For O'Brien And Fans
As they say at the NFL Draft "The Houston Texans are on the clock." and that clock is ticking as of midnight entering December 31.
The Texans, who self-imposed a deadline of Tuesday to name their head coach are now center stage for Penn State fans, the NFL, and Bill O'Brien's life.
For the entire week, O'Brien has been the front runner for the Houston job. ESPN has reported the deal all but completed, the NFL Network has mostly glossed over the vacancy under the assumption that O'Brien will take the job. Nothing was official, but it seemed only a matter of time. Neither outlet has broken the news of an official hire, which has become an interesting storyline in its own right as O'Brien has seemingly locked the job up.
Houston interviewed O'Brien early in the process, as well as former Bears' head coach Lovie Smith. The Texans were also set to interview Chargers' offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, but the Chargers made the playoffs and the Texans ruled Whisenhunt out of the equation. Smith has since been in the picture for other openings and has never appeared to have been a serious factor in the Texans' search.
So that leaves us with O'Brien. A head coach who never planned to leave Penn State so quickly and one who could just be playing hardball with the administration in the 11th hour. Team sources have had no indication of what will happen in the coming hours or possibly days, but as each minute ticks away the plot continues to thicken.
Houston papers have had next to nothing on the story meaning that team sources aren't talking. So who could be cherry picking information to leak to national outlets? It would seem that O'Brien's new agent and master negotiator Neil Cornrich is a prime suspect in this case.
If O'Brien is playing ball, today could very well be the day we find out. More pay for his assistants, more resources for the program, more money towards facilities, any number of things that could essentially improve O'Brien's professional standard of living. O'Brien doesn't want the money, that much has always been clear. If Bill O'Brien stays at Penn State he doesn't want to toy with winning records, he wants to toy with national titles and bowl games. That's why he modeled the program after Alabama when he took the job and not Alabama Southern.
So for now, the shoe is floating above State College by a string. It could drop, but if you believe in hail marys and maybe if you believe in Bill O'Brien and his word, that shoe could be lifted in the final seconds.
This much is clear. Something is happening on the last day of 2013.