Like many people, former Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny knows little about Bill O'Brien, beyond a well-publicized sideline spat.
O'Brien's exchange with Brady during a New England Patriots game last month against Washington is all many non-Patriots fans know of the man soon to be named Penn State's new head coach. O'Brien has no known ties to Penn State and has never served as a head coach before. He spent 12 seasons as an FBS assistant in the ACC before moving on to the Patriots in 2007.
Although Posluszny isn't as outraged by the hiring as some other former Penn State players, he had wanted interim head coach Tom Bradley, who coached him at the school, to get the permanent job. And like everyone else, Posluszny has some questions about O'Brien.
"I'm a little mixed," Posluszny said. "Obviously I hope O'Brien does a great job for the success of Penn State, but I need to have a better understanding of who he is and what he's all about."
Posluszny is "very surprised" Penn State didn't hire a coach with some ties to the school, saying he and many other former players believed the team needed someone with a strong knowledge of the institution and the program. Asked if Penn State's decision not to hire someone with ties stemmed from concerns about a P.R. backlash following the sex-abuse scandal, Posluszny said: "If they were, I don't know if that would be appropriate. Let's be honest. All this started because of Jerry Sandusky, one man and his unspeakable actions."
"Just because you had a connection with Penn State, I don't think that should mean you are now tainted for an opening like that," he said.
Posluszny noted that O'Brien needs to spend time learning about Penn State's traditions and history, and he's confident the new coach will do so. It would be "beneficial," Posluszny said, for O'Brien to hire assistants and staff who have previously worked at Penn State.
Although the initial reaction to the hiring hasn't been positive, Posluszny thinks fans, alumni and former players will eventually give O'Brien a chance. If O'Brien reaches out, Posluszny is more than willing to help the new coach.
"That's what we have to do," he said. "I obviously wanted Tom Bradley to get the job, but if this is the decision that's been made, trust me, I want Penn State to be successful and continue on to regain some of the glory that's been lost because of everything surrounding the situation. I'm hoping that O'Brien has the abilities to do that."
How long will it take for Penn State to return to glory?
"I think it will take time," Posluszny said. "We first have to go through the legal trials and issues surrounding everything and get that determined, and then continue to move on.
"It's not going to be an easy thing by any means."