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O'Brien: 'Iowa is a Great Place to Play'
Texans head coach is keynote speaker at Iowa Football Coaches Clinic
Bill O'Brien, head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans, is the keynote speaker at the 2014 Iowa Football Coaches Clinic.
Bill O'Brien, head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans, is the keynote speaker at the 2014 Iowa Football Coaches Clinic.
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March 28, 2014

  • Spring Practice #2 Highlights

    Spring Practice No. 2 

    By DARREN MILLER
    hawkeyesports.com

    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It took one game day experience in Iowa City for Bill O'Brien to recognize Kinnick Stadium as a special place.

    O'Brien, head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans, brought his Penn State University team to town Oct. 20, 2012, and it was an atmosphere O'Brien remembers well.

    Night game, national television, and boy, oh, boy, that environment.

    2014 Spring Football

    "It was unbelievable," O'Brien said. "I remember the fans were right on top of you. All the sections alternating black and gold, it was a fantastic atmosphere for a college football game.

    "I would say that if you're a high school player and you're thinking about Iowa, all you have to do is look at the atmosphere they had there that night to know that it's a great place to play."

    O'Brien is the keynote speaker at the Iowa Football Coaches Clinic on Friday at the Sheraton Hotel. Prior to his speaking engagement, he scouted several former Hawkeyes as they went through drills in the Indoor Football Practice Facility.

    "It's an honor to be here," O'Brien said. "When coach (Kirk) Ferentz asked me to do this a few months ago, I jumped at the chance because he has done such a great job here and also the respect that he has in the coaching fraternity is something I have admired for a long time."





    "I would say that if you're a high school player and you're thinking about Iowa, all you have to do is look at the atmosphere they had there that night to know that it's a great place to play."
    Bill O'Brien
    Head coach Houston Texans


    O'Brien, Kirk Ferentz, and UI offensive line coach Brian Ferentz are all from the coaching tree of Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots.

    When the Patriots played in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis on Feb. 5, 2012, Brian Ferentz was tight ends coach and O'Brien was offensive coordinator.

    During the 2012 and 2013 seasons, O'Brien led the Nittany Lions to records of 8-4 and 7-5. Penn State was on a roll in O'Brien's only trip to Kinnick Stadium, winning 38-14.

    On Jan. 2, 2014 -- a day after the Hawkeyes played Louisiana State University in the Outback Bowl -- O'Brien moved from the Big Ten back to the NFL as head coach of the Texans. He is now on the lookout for Iowa players that can help Houston rebuild from a 2-14 record last season.

    "(Iowa players are) tough, they're smart, they're team guys, they're hard workers, they're competitive, they understand the meaning of being coachable, they understand the meaning of team first, putting the team before themselves," O'Brien said. "That's something that all of us in the coaching profession have always admired about Kirk and his program."

    The Hawkeyes will conduct spring practices Friday and Saturday in conjunction with the annual Coaches Clinic. Ferentz begins his 16th season with a record of 108-79 and 11 bowl appearances with the Hawkeyes.

    "To have the consistency Iowa has had here year-in-and-year-out," O'Brien said. "I look at last year, they won eight games, and that shows that here is a resilient program that is back, and the other programs are really going to have to deal with in the Big Ten moving forward."

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