While five other NFL coaching jobs have opened up over the past day, it appears that Bill O'Brien may be making his decision before hearing from other suitors as Chris Mortensen is reporting that his deal to become the Houston Texans head coach is imminent and may be announced within the next 24 hours.
Other jobs in Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Washington and Detroit have opened up in the last 24 hours and all but Cleveland were expected to be interested in the Penn State head coach. But he may be gone before they can even get in touch with him.
O'Brien, who is due over $800,000 in contract money once the clock strikes midnight tonight, has gone 15-9 over his two years in Happy Valley. Most expected him to stay with the team through its sanctioned period, but if he does end up heading to the pros before then, the list of names that would be interested in the job in State College should be more expansive than a couple years ago as the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and the program is essentially back on its feet.
NFL Network reported yesterday that former Rutgers and recently fired Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano would have a strong push made for if O'Brien were to leave State College. However, this afternoon, David Jones at PennLive is saying that current Vanderbilt coach James Franklin may garner a serious look from Penn State. Athletic Director David Joyner is said to have been looking into Franklin with help of connections he has at East Stroudsburg University where Franklin played college ball.
Franklin has overachieved in the eyes of many at Vanderbilt, long thought of as just a truly academic institution. He has gone 17-8 over his last two seasons at the helm and is 23-15 overall with bowl appearances in all three of his seasons in Nashville.