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Sports

January 4, 2014

O'Brien takes over as Texans coach

(Continued)

O’Brien said he planned to meet with Houston’s assistant coaches on Friday and begin making decisions on who will make up his staff.

After his first season at Penn State, O’Brien interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns, among others, only to stay in State College. This time the lure of the NFL was too strong to resist.

“I love the players at Penn State and I respect their toughness and their resiliency and everything that they’ve demonstrated on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “I do regret not being able to continue with the great kids on that team. While I tried never to mislead anyone, I understand that some people feel let down. But again, it was a decision that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.”

O’Brien was an assistant at Brown, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke, before joining Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady in New England. O’Brien follows Dom Capers, who led the team from its expansion season in 2002, and Kubiak as the only coaches in Texans history.

Like Kubiak, O’Brien is known as a quarterback guru, which will be important for a team searching for a solution after veteran Matt Schaub had a terrible season and was benched after six games. He was replaced by Case Keenum, but the former record-setter at the University of Houston struggled as well.

O’Brien has almost exclusively coached offense with a focus on quarterbacks, though he was a defensive end and linebacker while at Brown.

“I think that’s a fantastic position to coach because of all the things that go into it,” O’Brien said. “The quarterback has to be a great teammate, a hard worker, a leader, a really good practice player, a guy that’s always striving for perfection ... it’s a job that’s never-ending. It’s a job that you can always improve if you like coaching quarterbacks and it’s a lot of fun to do.”

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