O'Brien reportedly to be named new head coach at Penn State

Penn State's search for a new head coach reportedly has come to a conclusion, as ESPN is reporting that the school has come to terms with New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien.

The Nittany Lions are set to announce the hiring Saturday.

As I wrote this past Monday, a friend of O'Brien told me Sunday night that he didn't think O'Brien would end up in State College because of his desire to climb up the NFL coaching ladder. Keep in mind that O'Brien left his last college gig, the offensive coordinator position at Duke, to assume a non-position assistant coaching spot in New England. Obviously, the search committee and the Penn State administration performed one heck of a sales job on the Patriots OC.

For O'Brien, there will be immediate challenges as well as long term obstacles.

He will be a head coach for the first time, and he has not coached or played at Penn State. He must assemble a staff quickly and hit the recruiting trail hard to try and salvage this February's signing class. And there is also the sex-abuse scandal that will continue to linger in State College, a situation one agent termed "toxic" for any new hire.

O'Brien is not new to the college scene, however, as he joined New England in 2007 following 14 seasons on college campuses, which included stops at Duke, Maryland and Georgia Tech. And because of his offensive prowess, he could revamp a Nittany Lions unit that struggled mightily to complement a strong defense this past season.

But because of his status as being a Penn State "outsider," will he have the support of some influential alumni and others around State College? Certainly, no matter how good of a football coach O'Brien is, this job sets up to be a challenge no matter who's in charge.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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