New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien will be announced as the new head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions this Saturday, according to Chris Mortenson of ESPN. O'Brien's departure comes as a surprise, with the Pats about to embark on their annual playoff run and in light of a statement released just a few days ago saying that reports tying him to Happy Valley were "off-base."
O'Brien will not be able to fully take over the at Penn State until after the Patriots are done in the playoffs, meaning he will likely pull double duty until then. He worked his way up in the Pats organization, starting in 2007 when he went from being the offensive coordinator at Duke to an offensive assistant in New England. In 2008 he took over the wide receivers and in 2009 he took on Tom Brady and the Pats' quarterbacks before assuming coordinator duties for the 2011-12 season.
Earlier this week Brady vouched for O'Brien, expressing his hopes that the coach would stick around the organization. O'Brien has spent the better part of his coaching career in the college ranks, however, and has plenty of ties to the East Coast that should benefit the Nittany Lions as they rebuild in light of the recent sex scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
For more on O'Brien's departure, head over to the SB Nation blog Pats Pulpit.