Bill O'Brien left an indelible mark on his college players at Penn State. Several spoke with Texans TV at this year's Senior Bowl about their former coach, his tough coaching style, and what it was like to play for him.
"I still say to this day, he's the best coach I've ever had," Penn State alum and inside linebacker Mike Hull said. "I have so much respect for him and he knows so much about the game of football, always taught me a lot about the X's and O's in situational football and can't thank him enough for it."
Players arrived at last week's Senior Bowl, hoping to showcase their talents and prove their professional readiness to visiting NFL coaches and scouts. Safety Adrian Amos applied much of what he learned under O'Brien for the meetings.
"He came in, he brought an NFL mindset," Amos said. "He got me prepared for the things like this. How to carry myself, what to expect on the next level. It was a great experience and he was the right guy for the job."
"We loved him there, defensive end Deion Barnes said. "He's a business-like coach, gets it done, as he does with the Texans. We love him. He's the type of coach we all rallied behind. We wanted to win for him, for sure."
O'Brien spent two seasons at Penn State as head coach before joining the Texans in January 2014. While he admits leading professional players is vastly different from collegiate atmosphere of recruiting and coaching students, O'Brien has always spoken highly of his time with the Nittany Lions.
"My experience at Penn State was a great experience," O'Brien said December 29. "I really enjoyed coaching there. I love that school and those kids that are in that program."
NFL coaches and draft prospects will meet again at the NFL Scouting Combine, taking place Feb. 17-23 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Houston will also host one of the five regional Combines at the Methodist Training Center on Feb. 14.