FOXBOROUGH — Most of the Patriots were either already gone today when the locker room was opened to the media, hurriedly leaving, or in no mood to discuss the reports about offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien becoming the next head coach at Penn State. Players arrived at Gillette Stadium this morning for team meetings, but did not practice.
One player who did stop and chat was Julian Edelman, who has helped the Patriots on all three sides of the ball, but has gotten to know O’Brien in his role as a receiver.
“Coach is a very passionate guy, knows his stuff, you know he’s going to give it his all always, and I love playing for him,” Edelman said. “You want to do well for him.”
Edelman was quick to say he couldn’t confirm the reports, which surfaced last night, that O’Brien will succeed Joe Paterno, but remain with the Patriots throughout the team’s playoff run.
“I don’t know if it’s true yet, I know just about as much as you guys do. From what I was told, Coach [O’Brien] will be here, so that’s my thoughts on that.”
What kind of a coach is O’Brien?
“Very passionate guy, knows his stuff, you know he’s going to give it his all always,” Edelman said. “Very charismatic, very emotional, he gets fired up when you get fired up. Billy O is just a good guy.”
If the reports are true and O’Brien is staying with the Patriots through the playoffs, any distraction could be minimal. But he could also be lining up his future staff at Penn State, which might include other Patriots coaches.
What kind of distraction, Edelman was asked, could this become?
“We’re still getting ready for the playoffs, we didn’t change anything,” he said. “We’re going to get right back to work here soon, enjoy a couple days off, rest.
“You’re always happy to see a guy succeed and get opportunities. I know Coach [O’Brien] as an offensive coordinator, he’s done great for us, and he’s going to keep doing well for us, and I look forward to preparing with him this next week.”