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Houston Texans reportedly closing in on hiring Penn State’s Bill O’Brien as next head coach

Frank Schwab
Shutdown Corner

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(USA Today Sports Images)

In many ways, Penn State's Bill O'Brien makes good sense to be the next head coach of the Houston Texans.

First of all, he can tutor the Texans' new quarterback, who will likely be determined when they make the first pick of next year's draft. O'Brien worked with the Patriots and Tom Brady as an offensive assistant in the years before taking the Penn State job. He'd presumably be a good fit to work with Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, or whoever the Texans select. Houston is guaranteed to have the first or second pick of next May's draft, and locks up the first pick with a loss on Sunday.

Also, O'Brien has dealt with a tough situation at Penn State. He seems to constantly be fighting battles between different factions at the school. This past offseason he sounded pretty fed up. And everyone knew he'd be a top candidate in the NFL if he ever wanted to leave the Nittany Lions.

Reportedly, the Texans are ready to lure him away. ESPN.com reported that O'Brien is "the overwhelming favorite" to be the Texans' new head coach, and the two sides are working on a deal that could be done next week. That would make the Texans the first team this season to fire a coach (they let Gary Kubiak go during the season) and to hire a new coach. If you wonder why a team would fire a coach during the season, this would be a pretty good example to point to.

O'Brien has done a tremendous job at Penn State, going 15-9 despite severe NCAA sanctions from the Jerry Sandusky scandal. He reworked his contract this year to make his buyout if he goes to the NFL significantly lower than it had been. His buyout is $6.48 million to go to a NFL team, ESPN said. ESPN also said O'Brien's agent was working to reduce it further.

Whatever the buyout ends up being, it certainly seems the Texans don't mind paying it if it means landing their preferred candidate.

UPDATE: The Houston Chronicle, which also stated that O'Brien was the front runner to get the job, quoted Texans owner Bob McNair as saying the process isn't over.

“The process has been under way, and it continues,” McNair told the Chronicle. “The process isn’t over. We have other candidates to interview next week.”

A report on PennState.247sports.com said that O'Brien told five-star recruit Thomas Holley of New York he isn't going anywhere.

“I just off the phone with him," Holley told 247Sports. "He said he isn’t going. It’s not true."

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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