“You know it’s great to kick off 2014 this year because I’m ready to kick 2013 the hell out of the door.”
And with those words Texans owner Bob McNair introduced the man who will try to get the team back on its feet after it wrapped up the season with a record of 2-and-14.
The Texans’ new coach is 44-year-old Bill O’Brien. He was an assistant under Bill Belichick in New England for five years.
But O’Brien’s most recent job was at Penn State, where he took over for Joe Paterno after the program was rocked by the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
O’Brien had nothing but praise for Penn State, but he says coming to Houston was the right thing to do.
“I understand if some people feel let down. I do, I understand that. But again, it was a decision that was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and it was a great opportunity for my family.”
So now that he’s here, what does O’Brien have to do to revitalize a franchise that had fans burning their jerseys only a few games into the season?
O’Brien says he wants players who are tough, both physically and mentally, and who can play in all kinds of conditions.
He also has to decide on a starting quarterback, after a season where starter Matt Schaub was benched in favor of third-string Case Keenum.
As for strategy, O’Brien says that depends on who they’re playing.
“To me I would describe our system as a game plan system. You have to have, in my opinion, a different game plan every week in this league because you see so many different defenses every week. It’ll be a system that’s adaptable and flexible and it’ll be a system that the players enjoy playing in.”
O’Brien also has to put together a staff of assistants.
He says he wants coaches who know how to teach, and who also hold players accountable. He also wants coaches who are good family men, and who know how to leave the game behind at the end of the day.
That’s important to O’Brien. He’s coming to Houston with his wife Colleen and two sons.
There’s eight-year-old Michael, and 11-year-old Jack, a special needs child who has a rare neurological condition.
“There’s a fantastic children’s hospital here that my wife and I have already researched, and it’s one of the best in the world, so we’re looking forward to meeting the people there, and all the people in Houston.”
O’Brien becomes the third head coach in Texans history. He replaces Gary Kubiak, who was fired before the end of the season.