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An explanation of my admittedly poor question to O'Brien, who I do believe will help energize PSU offense
January 8, 2012 - Cory Giger
I've received a lot of criticism for my question Saturday to new Penn State coach Bill O'Brien about him as an offensive coach in college, to which he defended his previous teams before eventually saying, "next question."
I want to admit that I felt bad about that exchange and that my question was worded poorly. I probably won't get a chance to write a column on this for a few days (actually I did, see link at right), so I would at least like to explain my reasoning here. It also will be discussed Monday on my radio show.
Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a Patriots fan and enjoy good offensive teams. That is one of the primary reasons I have been critical of PSU teams in the past, because there has rarely been any offensive creativity.
I really like the O'Brien hire and believe what he learned with the Patriots makes him an exciting choice from an offensive standpoint.
I was trying to ask him how much he has learned from an offensive standpoint since the last time he was in college. As an offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, his teams finished 34th and 57th nationally in total offense in 2001 and '02, respectively, and at Duke in 2005 and '06 they were 113th and 105th.
In those same years, PSU was 79th in 2001, 14th in 2002, 33rd in 2005 and 53rd in 2006.
Obviously, O'Brien didn't have a lot of talent to work with at Duke, so those numbers are skewed. Still, 113th and 105th is not at all impressive, even for Duke.
I do not believe O'Brien is the same offensive coach he was then because he must have made great progress while working with the Patriots. That's what I was hoping to get at.
My question was worded poorly in a setting with 50 reporters all trying to get in questions on top of each other. You only get a couple of seconds in that kind of setting to blurt out a question, and my wording was bad on a rather complex subject.
I do not think we all can just assume O'Brien is an offensive genius because the only great success he's had was with Tom Brady as his QB.
But as I pointed out, working with Brady and the Patriots, I'm sure, has helped make him a much better offensive coach, and I look forward to seeing that.