Join Date: Apr 2008
Re: Texans interested in Bill O'Brien
Digging a little deeper on O'Brien, from Penn State interviews..
"I'm fair. I am definitely intense, especially in the football environment, on the practice field and during games. I want to give the players a chance to definitely prove themselves to our staff. We are going to do a good job teaching them the type of systems we want to run. We are going to be a very competitive team amongst ourselves and then out on the field."
"It is a gameplan offense. People ask me all the time what that means. What we are going to do is evaluate our team when we get in here as soon as we can. It probably won't happen until after recruiting. We will start a little bit of that in the next phase, but really we are going to start grinding that out after recruiting. It is a gameplan offense where we take our players and look at what the defense is doing. We put our players in the best position to make plays against that defense. It is multiple formation, multiple personnel using a lot of different players in a lot of different places. It takes a smart instinctive player to play in this system at every position, but we are going to do a good job of teaching it to our guys and getting them going on it."
"We are going to try and continue the long tradition of defensive success. We have already heard that we have a really good front seven coming back. We are going to be a multiple look defense. The best defenses that I have ever gone against are the ones that change it up on every snap, keep you guessing and keep you on your heels. That is what we are going to do. We are going to play a little bit of man coverage. We are going to play zone coverage. We are going to blitz zone. We are going to blitz man. We are going to change the front often. We are going to go from an odd front to a four down front to what we call a bear front. We are going to be an attacking style defense. I can't wait to show our guys what we are going to do there."
But ask O’Brien what offensive style he favors, and he won’t throw around words such as pro style or spread.
His offense, it seems, is a little more elaborate than that.
“You can’t put a label on it,” he said. “It’s not a West Coast, it’s not an East Coast. It’s a very unique, instinctive offense, and it takes smart, instinctive players to play it.”
The O’Brien offense requires close study, and understanding of defenses.
“It’s a very personnel-oriented offense [with] many different personnel groupings and multiple formations,” O’Brien said. “It’s a game-plan offense so we’re gonna look at who we play and say, ‘Here’s what they do on defense, and here’s what we’re going to do to try to attack that.’
“What we’re gonna try to do with our offensive players is teach them about defense and get them to understand the fronts of coverages and pressures, and from there, put the offense in.”
The method might be a little unorthodox, but this coaching staff’s first priority will not be to install its offense.
“We don’t try to teach them the offense right away,” O’Brien said. “We spend a couple of days talking about defense and how we call things on defense, and then we put the offense in, so it’s very much a game-plan offense.”
PSU's Bill O'Brien uses Tight Ends to beat the system
But a question about tempo, and the need for O'Brien to get his teams, particularly his offense, to play fast, got the head coach going. Remember, the Lions caught some teams off-guard with their "NASCAR" offense last year, a hurry-up, or no-huddle, that produced big dividends.
O'Brien began to talk about about the importance of teaching every spring.
"You start over again,'' said O'Brien, the former New England Patriots' offensive coordinator and the reigning Big Ten Coach of the Year...
"Now what we did in the offseason, we did a really good job, I thought a better job than we did last year, because last year we were new and in the offensive meetings it was just me standing up in front of the staff and teaching them the offense.
"Because nobody in that staff room, when we first got here, knew the offense. I brought it from New England. So this year, the guys on the staff felt a lot more comfortable with the offense. So now we were able to go back, study what we did last year and tweak a lot of it, tweak all of it. And so then you start over with the players again.''
Playing fast. Starting over every spring. This is clearly all part of O'Brien's coaching philosophy, a philosophy that O'Brien has developed while spending time on the staffs of several head coaches.
O'Brien was with George O'Leary at Georgia Tech. He spent time with Ralph Friedgen at Maryland. There was a fairly brief stop at Duke, where he was teamed up with Ted Roof, who would later become O'Brien's defensive coordinator at Penn State in 2012.
And there is the obvious coaching influence -- Bill Belichick. Surprisingly though, there is another Patriots coach who has helped shaped O'Brien's philosophy.
And that would be Dante Scarnecchia, New England's 65-year-old offensive line coach. Scarnecchia, who has been with New England since 1982, knows offensive line play well. He was a guard and center at California Western from 1968 to 1970.
"You're coaching Tom Brady and every year you go right back and you start from scratch and you teach these guys from the bottom up,'' - Bill O'Brien.
Starting over. Every spring.
"And I learned this in New England, I learned this from Dante Scarnecchia, who is the best line coach in the NFL,'' O'Brien said.
"And as you're doing it, you implement the changes that you make for each year. I think we've made some good changes, still with the emphasis of playing at a high tempo.''
Bill O'Brien, of course, probably would be utilizing his unique approach to the position regardless of Penn State's situation. He did this at New England, and it helped drive the Patriots to the Super Bowl...
To O'Brien, what stands out about his tight ends "is that they are smart guys. That position in our offense is very difficult to learn, second only to quarterback.
"It's a very difficult position to learn because you're involved in run-blocking, running routes, pass protections -- you're involved with a lot . . ."