Boston College hiring Bill O'Brien as next head coach

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 31: New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on December 31, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills won 27-21. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Bill O'Brien served as the Patriots offensive coordinator in 2023. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

Bill O’Brien’s time at Ohio State didn’t last long.

The Buckeyes’ former offensive coordinator is now the new head coach at Boston College. O’Brien, a Boston native, has been Ohio State’s offensive coordinator for less than a month after he was hired in January.

Boston College had a head coach when O’Brien became the Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. But Jeff Hafley — a former Ohio State assistant himself — left the school at the end of January to become the defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.

O’Brien was hired at Ohio State following the staff turnover in New England at the end of Bill Belichick’s time as the Patriots head coach. After coaching in New England from 2007-2011, O’Brien returned to Foxborough to be the team’s offensive coordinator in 2023. That return didn’t have any of the success his previous stint did. The Patriots finished the season 4-13 and earned the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Before heading to New England, O’Brien spent two seasons at Alabama as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator in 2021 and 2022. Alabama made the College Football Playoff in 2021 as Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy. The Crimson Tide finished the 2022 season at 12-2 after missing the College Football Playoff.

O’Brien replaced Steve Sarkisian as Alabama’s offensive coordinator after he spent over six years as the head coach of the Houston Texans. The Texans won the AFC South four times in O’Brien’s first six years with the team but he was fired after an 0-4 start to the 2020 season. O’Brien became both the team’s head coach and general manager ahead of that season.

At Boston College, the former Penn State head coach heads to a school that doesn’t have the lofty expectations that Ohio State does. The Buckeyes have loaded up through the transfer portal and gotten a ton of draft-eligible talent to return to Columbus for the 2024 season in an effort to usurp Michigan atop the Big Ten. The Wolverines have beaten Ohio State three consecutive times on the way to three playoff trips and a national title in January.

Boston College, meanwhile, is looking for its first season with more than seven wins since 2009. Boston College finished at .500 or above in three of Hafley’s four seasons with the team but hasn’t been able to establish itself as an upper-half team in the ACC since the days of Matt Ryan in the mid-2000s.

O'Brien's departure also presents a post-signing period conundrum for Ohio State coach Ryan Day. Day brought O'Brien in to run the offense and call plays in a departure from the way he's run the team since taking over from Urban Meyer. Day, Meyer's offensive coordinator, has run the offense and called plays himself since he became the team's head coach. With O'Brien heading east, will Day find another coordinator to call plays or will he go back to what he's done for years?