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Maisel: Bill O'Brien's double duty

1/27/2012

Ivan Maisel has a story on Bill O'Brien's balancing act.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- By the time you read this, Bill O'Brien will be the head coach at Penn State in name only. As of Thursday morning, he immersed himself in his role as the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, trying to dissect the New York Giants' defense in preparation for Super Bowl XLVI.

The challenge that he will pick up on Feb. 6, the one he agreed to tackle a month earlier, is the number of people who forever will see him as the Penn State coach in name only. He is not Joe Paterno and never will be, although, like Paterno, O'Brien played football at Brown.

"He came down to speak to the athletic community at Brown. I think I was a senior," O'Brien said. "I think it was '92, and he spoke to the whole athletic department. And then we had the chance as football players to meet him. I took a picture with him, with a guy who was playing offensive line for us, Rene Abdalah."

His face lit up.

"I think I still have that picture somewhere," O'Brien said. "I've got to find that."

At 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, he is beginning his third hour in his office at the Lasch Football Building, the office Paterno used to complain about for its opulence. While at Penn State, O'Brien worked his Patriots job vampire-style -- after the sun came up, he wore his Penn State hat. Next to his desk, the Giants' defense was queued up on the screen. It is an upgrade from Paterno's VCR. Other decisions about what to change at Penn State won't be so easy.

Read the rest of Maisel's story here.