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Boston College Football Hires Bill O'Brien As Head Coach

Bruce McLaren

Bill O'Brien was hired as head coach on February 9th, 2024.

Ex-Boston College coach Jeff Hafley shocked the college world by leaving BC in late January to become the defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. This came only one day after completing an interview on YouTube explaining his expectations for BC in the upcoming season. When this happened, many BC fans, also known as “sickos,” on X (formerly Twitter) had many different reactions. Some of these reactions were negative, while most were positive reactions, with surprise. Sources on X said that BC athletic director Blake James wanted to fire Hafley after BC lost to Pittsburgh in November and had to be talked out of it, a potential reason for Hafley’s departure. Hafley, in a statement, made it clear that he was fed up with college recruiting and just wanted to coach football. 

When Hafley left, this left many BC fanatics in question who would be the new head coach at Boston College. The original odds for the next BC head coach on had Notre Dame defensive line coach Al Washington as a favorite, with Clemson special teams coordinator Mike Reed and Toledo head coach Todd Candle closely behind. Bill O’Brien had +1000 odds and only the seventh best odds to become the next head coach at BC. After around a week of searches, three main candidates got interviews: Bill O’Brien, Al Washington, and one unknown coach. A few different people could have been this third candidate, including Jeff Monken (current Army coach) or Chip Kelly (ex-UCLA coach, current Ohio State offensive coordinator). When O’Brien (known as BOB by many) was hired by BC, this excited many fans, including myself. This is because of his track record as a head coach of the Houston Texans in the NFL, along with being the head coach of Penn State, the offensive coordinator for Alabama, and the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots very successfully. An anonymous opinion that I got on X is as stated: “Let’s go! That’s huge news!... If we can maintain all of the Hafley portal players I believe this team has a lot of potential.” There were numerous other public opinions, most of which were very positive. A former BC player also mentioned, though, that many players may transfer out due to a lack of familiarity, but this has not been apparent so far in the offseason. 

Another unknown when BOB was hired as head coach was who he would bring with him and keep on his coaching staff. It seems that the hiring process has gone very fast so far, as BC has already hired their offensive and defensive coordinators, former Patriots tight ends coach Will Lawing and ex-NFL defensive coordinator Tim Lewis. The defensive coordinator hire especially is a bit questionable, as Tim Lewis hasn’t coached in the NFL or college football for many years, but it has been reported that it is only a one-year deal, so this may be a placeholder until next year when O’Brien can hire a full staff with more time. Also, BC is keeping many offensive coaches, including well-renowned offensive line coach Matt Applebaum, who has done an excellent job at BC in his multiple stints. 

When entering this coaching search, it was unbeknownst to many fans which direction Boston College would go in when hiring their new head coach, and they went for the objectively best option. However, this option was most definitely expensive, which is a trend that BC tended not to follow in the past. This shows change under Blake James’s leadership in that Boston College knows that to stay relevant, they need to change and spend more than they may like to take a risk on their program. Also, with this hire, many transfers and recruits could be attracted to Boston College due to having a “big name” as their head coach. As for this upcoming season, QB Thomas Castellanos has proven to be a star, and it will be very interesting to see how he develops. In a later article, an in-depth analysis of each game on their schedule will be written, along with my predictions for the upcoming season with players, coaches, and BC's record. Overall, this hire is a huge win and home run for Boston College, and it will be interesting to see how this team competes in this crucial 2024 season. 

Bonus Note: There has been a source on X that has stated a potential for BC to have Tom Brady (yes, the greatest quarterback of all time) come to BC during the spring and attend a practice or two. I am not sure if there is merit to this, but it would be amazing, so I wanted to add it!


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