SFN’s Take: TOB > PJ

SFN has been hearing from a variety of sources that Boston College head man Tom O’Brien has emerged as a serious contender for the NC State job. As you may know, O’Brien has taken some heat from the Eagle faithful for not being able to get BC over the proverbial hump. While we agree that O’Brien may have maxed out what he is able to accomplish in Beantown, we do not believe that his ceiling would necessarily be limited at NC State.

O’Brien is supposedly willing to make a move because Boston is a pro sports town, almost exclusively. BC also has a small alumni base, which has led to good Eagle teams getting subpar bowl bids. The argument is that better bowls would lead to more recruiting momentum, as would a thriving, college-town environment – and ultimately, a chance at more success at NC State.

Of course, you might note that you could say the same thing about Paul Johnson. There is some truth to that. However, we believe that Tom O’Brien has some clear advantages over PJ – (i) BCS conference experience; (ii) has recruited at least some premium athletes; (iii) less potential to be negatively recruited against successfully; and (iv) a stronger staff (with pretty remarkable continuity).

O’Brien is no spring chicken, but young enough (58) to have a good ten year run at NC State. Plus, we already know his likely “floor” – 7-9 win seasons, which would at least get NC State into good bowl games periodically. We also think that it is reasonable to hope for greater success (contention for ACC titles) with a fresh start and a different environment to work in. Is it guaranteed? No. But nobody is going to be a sure thing here. SFN thinks that O’Brien would be a very good choice.

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General NCS Football Tom O'Brien

336 Responses to SFN’s Take: TOB > PJ

  1. Clarksa 12/06/2006 at 11:18 AM #

    I don’t think we can go wrong with either one…it’s nice to have choices with HC experience.

  2. jamieinkorea 12/06/2006 at 11:18 AM #


    SFN usually hits it on the head. Sometimes, though, second guessing is a little too easy. PJ has shown fantastic abilities to make a great program. Of course it’s easy to say someone else is better, but that doesn’t make it so.

    Getting into “good bowl games periodically” is the goal of the Pack? I don’t think so.

  3. graywolf 12/06/2006 at 11:20 AM #

    ACC will not let this happen.

  4. Pack92 12/06/2006 at 11:22 AM #

    TOB would be a good fit with the athletes we have. His offensive mind-set is more or less what we are used to and hey, the Eagles play pretty good defense.

    The only fear I have is that we settle for TOB because of the familiarity and do not give PJ and his unknowns a chance – as did Ohio State to Jim Tressel. I think that decision played out pretty well.

    Could TOB recruit here? At least PJ has some southern connections.

  5. GAWolf 12/06/2006 at 11:25 AM #

    I have a problem with hiring O’Brien. Can’t put my finger on exactly what that is… but I’d rather have someone on the way up… as has been stated here previously, than someone who is on the way down or possibly at a plateau. It just doesn’t bring excitement to my belly talking about hiring the guy.

  6. DIXIE Wolf 12/06/2006 at 11:29 AM #

    TOB is a fine candidate but PJ is our guy. He has more to prove and will therefore produce more wins and more excitement from our already fantastic fan base.

  7. skywalkerdt 12/06/2006 at 11:30 AM #

    odds are if o’brien can recruit up north he can in the south, its just a matter of establishing connections with high school coaches, etc. which is why he’d need to retain someone from amato’s staff that has those connections. much like lowe did bringing larry harris back

  8. one00_proof 12/06/2006 at 11:30 AM #

    Yeah, I wouldn’t hold my breath on TOB. It would be a great steal in my opinion, but it might be too late in the game for him.

  9. PAPacker 12/06/2006 at 11:34 AM #

    SFN, any thoughts about the head coaches at Tulsa, Middle Tennesee State, Rice and Houston, all of whom seem to be floating, or at least were floating around?

  10. jbpackfan 12/06/2006 at 11:34 AM #

    Ok- so what if they both fall through? Now that Jimbo Fisher is off the list, where do we turn?

  11. PAPacker 12/06/2006 at 11:35 AM #

    Their names as head coaching possibilities, I mean.

  12. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 12/06/2006 at 11:36 AM #

    I think it is wrong to pursue another current ACC coach. I understand it has been done before but it doesn’t sit right with me. With all the possibilities available to State why go after one of the 5 coaches in your division?

    The goal of NCSU should be to find the best head coach in the country that is willing to come to State. If that is TomO then that is fine I guess but I don’t suspect that is the case.

  13. Cardiff Giant 12/06/2006 at 11:36 AM #

    I have the same concerns about TOB as others noted here and elsewhere.

  14. NCStateDud92 12/06/2006 at 11:37 AM #

    I am not sure that the ACC can do anything about it… I am not sure though.

  15. skywalkerdt 12/06/2006 at 11:39 AM #

    what happened with jimbo?

  16. StateFans 12/06/2006 at 11:39 AM #

    Remember, we are talking about “good bowl games periodically” being his FLOOR, not his CEILING. That’s a key difference. Johnson’s floor could be that he can’t recruit or adapt his system at this level, and we are usually a sub-.500 team, or one that can only beat patsies.

    We are only hearing STRONG buzz about Johnson and O’Brien at this point. That doesn’t mean it can only be one of those two, however.

  17. Dan 12/06/2006 at 11:40 AM #

    “Plus, we already know his likely “floor” – 7-9 win seasons”

    I totally agree. Johnson’s floor is (if he cant adapt his offense for ACC speed) is 2 wins.

    If O’Brien can hire the right staff his ceiling elevates. In fact, I see no reason why O’Brien cannot equal the success of a Frank Beamer.

    Not to mention the perception of O’Brien is 180 degrees from the perception of Amato.

  18. choppack1 12/06/2006 at 11:40 AM #

    TOB would be a lessy risky hire. However, I go back to my statement on another thread here where I said that, contrary to popular opion, I believed that PJ had a greater upside than Jimbo. I think the same about PJ versus TOB.

    While he does shore up some of the obvious concerns about PJ – TOB hasn’t really won “the” big game. 2 years ago, FSU played the college game of the century in Chestnut Hill and won. This year, with the Division title on the line, his guys went to Wake and lost. Now, in all fairness, maybe at NC State, he gets better athletes which will make this less likely. However, he does have a “vanilla-ness” about him and his game plans.

    Once again – I think he’s a great candidate. But I also wonder what Johnny-Boy would do to stop it. Here’s another thing to consider, how did he do against Butch?

  19. GrandWolf 12/06/2006 at 11:42 AM #

    If Tom O’Brien is hired I will support the Pack. But welcome back Herb.

    NC State seems to me wants to do in football what ASU did in basketball. Hire a coach that beats the cupcakes, splits w/ the equal teams, and more often than not loses to the higher ranked teams. Gets to low and midlevel bowls, and after 10 years can’t get over the hump.

    If TOB is hired, I hope he proves me wrong.

  20. Rick 12/06/2006 at 11:42 AM #

    I am torn about this.
    I admittedly do not know alot about college fball so I am speaking from at least a little bit of ignorance (it is also why I do not write about it), but could TOB be a Belein type of hire? Safe but not alot of upside?

    This seems to be Foulup’s SOP.

  21. old13 12/06/2006 at 11:42 AM #

    I’d still like to get Jimbo and Bo. But TOB coached at UVa, so he has recruited the South. And PJ does seem to have good potential. I wouldn’t be drastically disappointed with any of them I don’t think.

  22. class of 74 12/06/2006 at 11:48 AM #

    Please no, Herb Sendek in cleats, I pray this never comes to pass.

  23. packbackr04 12/06/2006 at 11:51 AM #

    jbpackfan^^why is jimbo fisher off the list??

  24. WP 01 12/06/2006 at 11:53 AM #

    The ACC can’t stop it. It may be frowned upon, but I’d give ’em a big ole Smile right back. Happens in other conferences all the time.

  25. skywalkerdt 12/06/2006 at 11:55 AM #

    o’brien is a tricky situation if ncsu initiates contact we look bad for poaching league teams. if o’brien initiates it doesn’t do much good for bc from a pr standpoint.

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