O'Brien revamping staff, targeting Crennel

HOUSTON -- Bill O'Brien's meetings with the Texans assistant coaches are still ongoing, but it's looking like he's planning on completely revamping the staff.

O'Brien's meetings so far have been short, and were not characterized to me as interviews. They lasted about two minutes, with simply the purpose of telling the coaches personally he's letting them go. He informed them he already has a staff in mind of coaches he knows.

Some of the new names we already know.

As was previously reported, I've confirmed that O'Brien is planning to hire Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator. Crennel is another former Patriots assistant. He served two stints as a head coach with the Browns and the Chiefs. He is not currently with a team.

Last week, PennLive.com reported O'Brien planned to bring Penn State receivers coach Stan Hixon with him.

O'Brien told me on Friday that he also plans to bring Jim Bernhardt, who was a coach at Brown with O'Brien and while O'Brien was playing there. Bernhardt, one of O'Brien's closest friends, served as the special assistant to the head coach and director of player development at Penn State.

Bernhardt was instrumental in the start of O'Brien's coaching career. When then-Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary needed a graduate assistant, he called Bernhardt and asked if he knew of anyone who was, "smart enough" to get into grad school at Georgia Tech but "dumb enough" to want to be a coach.

"That was me," O'Brien said Friday.