Ohio State is set to hire longtime NFL and college coach Bill O’Brien as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, according to several reports.
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day had reportedly explored bringing in an experienced offensive coordinator this offseason that would allow him to give up play-calling responsibilities, with O’Brien the choice given his extensive coaching and play-calling experience.
With O’Brien’s hiring as offensive coordinator, it is unclear how it will impact Brian Hartline, who has served as Ohio State’s wide receivers coach since 2018 and added the offensive coordinator tag ahead of last season, though Hartline is expected to remain on staff. O’Brien will also take over as quarterbacks coach, replacing former coach Corey Dennis, who had filled the role for Ohio State over the past four seasons.
O’Brien is a past head coach with the Houston Texans (2014-20) and at Penn State (2012-13). He posted a 52-48 record in six seasons with the Texans and was 15-9 in two seasons at Penn State, taking over following the firing of Joe Paterno, and was named Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2012. He most recently served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the New England Patriots in 2023, though it was a challenging year as the Patriots averaged just 13.9 points per game.
Before his most recent role with the Patriots, O’Brien was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks at Alabama under Nick Saban from 2021-22, where he helped lead the Crimson Tide to an SEC Championship Game win and an appearance in the College Football Playoff while working with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young, and posting back-to-back seasons with a top-six scoring offense.
He had previously served as an assistant coach with the Patriots from 2007-2011, helping lead several high-octane offenses under then-head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, and has had previous collegiate coaching stints at Maryland and Georgia Tech in his career dating back to 1993.
O’Brien is the second staff addition of the offseason for Ohio State, joining safeties coach Matt Guerrieri. The Buckeyes have one assistant coaching vacancy remaining, with the possibility of graduate assistant James Laurinaitis being bumped up to a full-time position or the addition of another coach on the defensive line.