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Report: Former Penn State HC Bill O’Brien on Nebraska’s Shortlist

Nebraska football needs a full-time head coach to replace Scott Frost, and per the Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien is on the shortlist.

O’Brien is in his second season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, and previously, was a head coach at both the college and NFL levels for eight plus seasons.

He took the Penn State job in 2012 and led a program rocked by scandal and sanctions to a 15-9 record over the 2012 and ‘13 seasons.

From there, O’Brien moved on to become the head coach of the Houston Texans. From 2014-19, O’Brien piloted the Texans to four NFC South titles.

His time in Houston ended in the middle of the 2020 season when he was fired after an 0-4 start.

O’Brien then returned to the college game and became Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama. In 2021, he helped the Tide to an SEC championship win and national championship game appearance, where they fell to Georgia.

O’Brien, who is also Alabama’s quarterbacks coach, helped QB Bryce Young to a Heisman Trophy.

Nebraska fired Frost this season after starting 1-2 with losses to Northwestern and Georgia Southern.

Frost’s disappointing tenure ended with a 16-31 overall record and 10-26 Big Ten mark over four seasons plus three games.

Mickey Joseph is Nebraska’s interim head coach, and he began his tenure with a 49-14 loss to Oklahoma in Lincoln this past Saturday.

O’Brien has bad memories of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium. In 2012, Penn State played at Nebraska for the first of two meetings in Lincoln since Nebraska joined the Big Ten before the 2011 season.

Penn State lost, 32-23, in a game perhaps best remembered for tight end Matt Lehman being ruled to have fumbled in the end zone despite video evidence suggesting he scored a touchdown.

That touchdown would have put Penn State ahead roughly midway through the fourth quarter.

Other coaches on Nebraska’s shortlist, per Feldman, are a pair of Big 12 bosses in Iowa State’s Matt Campbell and Kansas’ Matt Leipold.

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