Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or so.
Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans head coach
Possibility scale: 3/10
It's long. O'Brien, 46, last showed up in the collegiate ranks as Joe Paterno's successor as Penn State's coach in 2012 and 2013. But he's got plenty of other experience, including a brief run in 2003 and 2004 as Maryland's running backs coach. He's also had stops at Georgia Tech, Brown and Duke, where he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2005 and 2006.
Immediately before Penn State, O'Brien was on Bill Belichick's New England Patriots staff from 2007 to 2011, first as an offensive assistant and position coach, then as the offensive coordinator. He took Penn Sate's open job after Paterno's firing at the height of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and calmly guided the Nittany Lions through a period of institutional recovery before signing on with Houston before last season.
On Sunday, he was linked publicly to Maryland, although his actual interest in the job is an open question.
O'Brien has already been deemed good enough for jobs much better than Maryland's. He has championship-caliber experience with New England. While he wasn't perfect at Penn State, Nittany Lions fans were generally sad to see him go, and he surely built up plenty of transferrable recruiting relationships during his time in Happy Valley. There's no one better positioned to help Maryland recruit against, say, Penn State than the man who left one place and went to the other.
He has an extensive history running pro-style offenses, and he appeared to have five-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg on track for an excellent college career in 2013, before James Franklin and Penn State's new staff oversaw the ruination of the quarterback's progress. O'Brien could be a strong coaching fit for pro-style four-star quarterback commit Dwayne Haskins and anyone who comes to College Park after him.
O'Brien doesn't tend to stay in the same place for long, and it's not clear why Maryland would be any different. His 2007-to-2011 run in New England was easily the longest of his coaching career, and he didn't see things through at Penn State despite the good work he did there.
His NFL tenure in Houston hasn't been easy, as he's 12-12 there and 3-5 this season. It's been hard for the same reason Maryland has struggled; the Texans haven't found, drafted or developed a viable starting quarterback, and O'Brien hasn't had the best collaboration with his team's front office on that matter.
He also, surely, would cost a boatload of money.
In one sentence
O'Brien is a little rough around the edges and wouldn't come cheap, but he'd be a blue-chip hire for Maryland.