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Ohio State Set to Bring on Bill O’Brien from the New England Patriots as Offensive Coordinator

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Bill O’Brien brings extensive experience with Jerod Mayo, having coached alongside him in 2023 and being on Patriots staffs when the successor to Bill Belichick was in place as a linebacker. However, the two will not collaborate in 2024.

According to ESPN.com’s Pete Thamel, Ohio State will bring in O’Brien as its offensive coordinator. This move will conclude O’Brien’s second stint as Patriots OC for one season, bringing the 54-year-old assistant back to the college ranks and the Big Ten. O’Brien previously coached at Penn State before becoming the Texans’ HC and was Alabama’s OC between his Houston firing and most recent New England trip.

Robert Kraft helped bring O’Brien back to Foxborough last year, ending Bill Belichick’s unusual Matt Patricia experiment. The Patriots struggled on offense this past season, leading to Belichick’s departure.

The Pats dropped from 17th in scoring in 2022 to 31st this season, eventually benching Mac Jones and concluding the campaign with Bailey Zappe at the controls. Zappe is believed to have struggled in O’Brien’s offense in training camp, leading to the Pats waiving the 2022 fourth-round pick. O’Brien’s second stint with the team did not produce the same success as his first.

O’Brien’s initial Pats stint was from 2007-11, during which Tom Brady played quarterback for four seasons. O’Brien moved to the OC role in 2011, the Pats’ only Brady-era Super Bowl season that did not feature a top-10 scoring defense, and used the season as a platform to become Joe Paterno’s successor at Penn State. O’Brien returned to the NFL in 2014, landing the Texans’ HC job. His time with the Texans included some criticized decisions but also led the team to four playoff brackets in seven seasons.

The Buckeyes have not beaten Michigan since 2019, but the team will have NFL prospects Emeka Egbuka and TreVeyon Henderson back after the wide receiver and running back respectively opted not to enter the draft this year. Ohio State HC Ryan Day is considering giving up play-calling duties and O’Brien, who called plays at Alabama from 2021-22, could step in if Day steps back.

This will officially open the Patriots’ OC position to start Mayo’s tenure. Mayo will be in place to lead on defense, but the team will need a new offensive play-caller ahead of a season that may well feature another first-round pick being spent on a quarterback. New England holds the No. 3 overall pick, and its QB need points to strong consideration being given to addressing that top deficiency early.

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