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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
O'Brien keeps focus on Super Bowl

By Mike Rodak

INDIANAPOLIS -- Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien answered questions from reporters at Tuesday's Super Bowl XLVI media day, but deflected attention away from his upcoming role as Penn State's head coach.

Bill O'Brien
Offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien said he's focused solely on the Patriots this week and not his Penn State gig.
"This is a week about the Patriots, and really not about Penn State right now," O'Brien said. "I'm trying to do the best I can to put together, with the staff, a great game plan for Sunday."

Wednesday is National Signing Day, the first day high school football players can sign a national letter of intent with an NCAA school such as Penn State.

"I'll be at Penn State on Monday or Tuesday after the [Super Bowl], and we'll go from there," O'Brien said. "We've got a lot of great people at place in Penn State that are doing a great job up there of seeing that through."

O'Brien also praised the Patriots for assisting him over the past several weeks while he has been pulling double-duty.

"[Head coach] Bill [Belichick] has really helped here as far as the offensive staff and some administrative people that have helped me in New England when I haven't been here," O'Brien said.

O'Brien also had high praise for once-and-future Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was hired as an offensive assistant shortly after O'Brien took the Penn State job and will take O'Brien's place after the Super Bowl.

“Josh McDaniels, not only is he a great coach, but he’s a great friend," O'Brien said. "We have a very, very good working relationship. We’re lucky, Bill’s lucky, the Patriots are lucky to have him back and I’m lucky to have him for these last three weeks. He’s done a great job of just giving us some thoughts on what he sees, especially defensively, but also with our own team.”

When asked about he health of injured tight end Rob Gronkowski, O'Brien directed questions to head trainer Jim Whalen (who is not made available to reporters) and Belichick.

"We feel really good where we're at right now. We feel really good about our game-plan. We have a few things to clean up," O'Brien said. "We had a good practice yesterday. We're moving forward with the thought that we'll be ready for anything. We have a lot of good, instinctive players that will be ready for any role we ask them to do, right up to game-time, during the game. They're adjustable guys, flexible guys, so we feel  really good about where we're at right now."