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Penn State Football: Five Options To Fill Vacant Offensive Assistant Position

by on December 04, 2013 1:35 PM

Have a coaching resume? Time to send it to Penn State.

With the news now official that Penn State quarterback coach Charlie Fisher and linebacker coach Ron Vanderlinden will not return in 2014, it opens two important vacancies on Bill O'Brien's staff.

What will be interesting moving forward is to see what kind of coaches O'Brien goes after to complete his staff. O'Brien is credited with the majority of the progress that Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg both made under his tutelage. So one question becomes, does Penn State really need a coach dedicated exclusively to quarterbacks?

If O'Brien plans to bring in an offensive coach with a more diverse background, it could open the possibility that the right coach could take some of the burden off of O'Brien's shoulders on Saturday. It seems unlikely that O'Brien will ever give up calling plays, but having a coach in the box with a broader background might be an asset to Penn State and O'Brien.

So for now, here are five coaches who could help O'Brien on offense.

James Perry: Princeton Offensive Coordinator

Bill O'Brien is an Ivy League product -- a Brown alumnus. Perry just so happened to quarterback Brown's 1999 Ivy League championship squad and was Ivy League Player of the Year. To top it off Perry is the all-time passing leader in Ivy League history. While the Ivy League isn't the Big Ten, Perry hails from only 20 minutes outside of Bill O'Brien's home town of Dorchester, Massachusetts and has had a successful career both on the field and as a coach. 

Chad O'Shea: New England Patriots' Receivers Coach

Penn State doesn't need a receivers coach but O'Shea has a special teams background. He coached at the college level at Houston and Southern Miss before taking up similar duties in the NFL with the Chiefs, Vikings, and has been with New England since 2009. At all of his stops O'Shea has had a hand in special teams as well as receivers. Having worked with O'Brien is an added plus especially if O'Shea were to be O'Brien's eye-in-the-sky in the press box. He also played quarterback at the University of Houston.

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John Donovan: Vanderbilt Offensive Coordinator 

O'Brien worked with Donovan while at Georgia Tech alongside Ralph Friedgen and then again when both O'Brien and Donovan coached at Maryland; Donovan as a recruiting coordinator. This might be a hard hire to swing. Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin is one of the nation's up and coming coaches so Donovan might be reluctant to leave the program. However, if Franklin took a new job Donovan might be willing to make the jump. Between his ties to O'Brien, regional ties to Penn State's recruiting areas and Vanderbilt's resurgence as a program, Donovan could be a steal if Penn State can land him.

George Godsey: New England Patriots' Tight End Coach/Offensive Assistant

Godsey was a name to watch when O'Brien was first hired but for whatever reason ended up getting passed over for Fisher. Godsey played quarterback at Georgia Tech under O'Brien and has been an assistant in New England since 2011. Before that Godsey worked at Central Florida for five seasons. If O'Brien passed on Godsey the first time that might mean Godsey is already off the list. But if O'Brien was turned down by Godsey, it might be worth giving him another call.

Mark Whipple: Former NFL Assistant

Like O'Brien, Whipple is also a Brown alumnus. He played quarterback in the late 1970s and has experience in the NFL coaching ranks from 2004-2012. Austin Whipple, Mark's son, currently plays for Penn State as a quarterback. Whipple's name came up when O'Brien was first hired. But he may not be the most appealing option on this list of potential candidates. If hired though he would be bringing many years of experience to State College.


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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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