O'Brien opposes slowdown rule

(Michael Conroy/AP)

INDIANAPOLIS - Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has proposed a college football rules change that would slow down hurryup offenses, by allowing the defense at least 10 seconds to substitute, before the next play is run. Obviously, if college football goes that way, there's a chance the movement will spread to the NFL, where teams such as the Eagles have been known to play uptempo.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly hasn't spoken to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine, but one of Kelly's friends, who has a similar mindset, said yesterday he doesn't much like the idea, particularly in the pros.

"No. I wouldn't want to see that in the NFL. I think it's important offensively to be able to have different tempos, play different styles of offense," new Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "I wouldn't want to see that in college football or the NFL. I have a lot of respect for Bret. He's a fanstastic coach, but have a strong belief in being able to change the tempos on offense."

O'Brien was asked about a report out of Harrisburg that he had been eager to leave Penn State, where he coached for two seasons, battling the Jerry Sandusky scandal sanctions, until last month.

"I loved Penn State. Enjoyed the players I coached there. I think it's a great school, I think it's a fantastic school. The student body's great," O'Brien said. "I felt like this was an opportunity for my family, for my wife, for my two sons, that we couldn't pass up."

Asked about his successor, James Franklin, O'Brien said he and Franklin, who once coached together at Maryland, "spoke a few times, leading up to him getting the job ... The kids will really buy into him. He'll do a great job recruiting. It's a place you could really win a lot of games."

On Thursday, Buffalo coach Doug Marrone said it is easier for a coach with NFL experience to come back to the NFL from college than it is to go from the NFL to the college game. Asked about that today, O'Brien agreed, saying that the college setup is so very different from what an NFL assistant or head coach experiences, the players are younger, and so on, making that a much bigger adjustment.