INDIANAPOLIS – Before Bill O’Brien leaves the Patriots for his new head coaching position at Penn State he wants to win a Super Bowl ring.
The alum, who serves as current offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick, has had the taxing responsibility of National Signing Day falling on the same week he was preparing for Super Bowl XLVI against the Giants.
“Bill [Belichick] has really helped here as far as the offensive staff and some administrative people that have helped me in New England when I haven’t been here," he said, "and then I think I’ve put together one of the best staffs in the country at Penn State, and they’ve hit the ground running up there."
O’Brien said it wasn’t too difficult to build the Penn State staff with keeping some from Joe Paterno’s regime and bringing in close friends and acquaintances that he has worked with in the past.
“He’s been very focused with us,” said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. “He’s really a professional. He’s balancing a couple different things. We know that he’s fully committed to this team and what we’re trying to accomplish this week. I’ve been lucky to have been coached really closely by him for the last three years. He’s an exceptional coach and I know Penn State is very lucky to have him.”
As for Belichick, he hasn’t noticed an ounce of difference in O’Brien’s demeanor this week.
“Bill O’Brien has done everything he normally does, and everything he can possibly do,” said Belichick. “I’m sure he’s spent some extra hours early in the morning and late at night doing things for Penn State. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do here, and he has been very diligent in his responsibilities.”
When he was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007, he was hoping for the ability to grow and learn in a successful system, eventually adding to Belichick’s tree of head coaches around the NFL and college.
O’Brien credits Belichick’s ability to extract creativity from his assistants within the overall model he presents.
“He’s a very, very bright guy who has pushed me and demanded a lot of me,” O’Brien said, “and I really thank him for that, because whether it’s Xs and Os or how to put together a team or how to prepare a team or how to deal with a player.”
He's ready to do that himself as a head coach, but after he gets his hands on that Lombardi Trophy on Sunday.
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