Defensive line coach Larry Johnson will take over as interim head coach at Penn State during the search to replace Bill O'Brien, according to a report Wednesday by the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa.
O'Brien is leaving for the NFL to take the vacant head-coaching job with the Houston Texans, multiple media outlets reported.
Johnson's primary job will be to hold the Nittany Lions' 2014 recruiting class together until a successor to O'Brien is named, according to Pennlive.com.
The leading contenders to replace O'Brien are Miami coach Al Golden and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, Pennlive.com reported. Other names mentioned include former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano and former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak.
Golden and Munchak are former Penn State players.
O'Brien came to Penn State two years ago from the New England Patriots in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and compiled a 15-9 record in two seasons as Joe Paterno's successor. He was named Big Ten coach of the year in 2012.
Johnson has served on Penn State's staff for 18 years and for the past 14 as the defensive line coach. One of his sons, Larry Jr., played at Penn State and was a two-time All-Pro with the Kansas City Chiefs.
---Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is headed for the NFL.
The junior will pass up his senior season to enter the the 2014 draft, according to an ESPN report.
NFLDraftScout.com ranks Bridgewater as the No. 1 overall pick in the May draft and the top quarterback prospect.
In three years at Louisville, Bridgewater passed for 9,817 yards with 72 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. The Cardinals are 30-9 during that time with three bowl berths and two conference championships.
Neither Bridgewater, 21, nor Louisville has made an official announcement regarding a decision on his future.
In what would be his final college game, Bridgewater led the Cardinals to a 36-9 victory over the Miami Hurricanes in the Citrus Bowl on Saturday, completing 35 of 46 passes for 447 yards and three touchdowns wtih no interceptions.
---Ohio State defensive end Noah Spence will sit out the Orange Bowl on Friday against Clemson and the first two games of next season as part of a three-game suspension for violating a Big Ten rule, the university announced.
No reason was given for the suspension, but Ohio State's news release said the sophomore's parents did not agree with the decision and were assisted by the athletic department in exhausting the appeals process to the conference. The Columbus Dispatch reported the suspension was for using a banned dietary supplement.
Spence did not travel with the team to Florida for the bowl game and Ohio State officials had not previously specified the reason for his absence. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer held out hope that the matter would be cleared up and Spence would play in the Orange Bowl.
An All-Big Ten performer and all-conference academic player this season, Spence led the Buckeyes in sacks and ranked second in the Big Ten with 8.0. He also was sixth in the conference in tackles for loss with 14.5.
Spence, a sociology major, will remain at Ohio State and be allowed to practice with the team this spring, but he will not be eligible to play until the Buckeyes' third game of the 2014 season, against Kent State on Sept. 13. He will miss the opener against Navy on Aug. 30 in Baltimore and home opener against Virginia Tech on Sept. 6.