INDIANAPOLIS – As everyone knows, Bill O'Brien is wearing a pair of hats right now.
First, he's preparing Tom Brady and one of the NFL's elite offenses for Sunday's Super Bowl matchup with the Giants in his role as New England's offensive coordinator.
But he also spent the early portion of last week in Pennsylvania on the Penn State campus, where he's already signed up to follow up Joe Paterno as the Nitanny Lions head coach. It's recruiting season and he's putting together a staff in the infant stages of his first head coaching job.
There would be no better way to hit the ground running in Happy Valley than to arrive fresh off a Super Bowl win and with a ring on his finger. To do that, he must be focused on his current task at hand.
According to his players, that's exactly how he's been.
"I haven't been able to tell that he's going to be a coach somewhere else after this season," Wes Welker said. "He's been consistent just like he has this whole year. Nothing's really changed with him. It's all the same."
Maybe the only change from normal, are the little barbs that his players throw O'Brien's way since he got his new gig.
"The only difference is us giving him a hard time about being the head coach. Or, 'Yeah, you're just going to Penn State. You're going to leave us in the dust.' So we'll give him a hard time about it, but really watching him he's fully focused on this game and what we need to do."
The Patriots also have another talented offensive mind helping the team prepare for the Super Bowl. Josh McDaniels, the team's former offensive coordinator, rejoined New England prior to the postseason and little is known about exactly what role he's been fulfilling.
On Sunday evening in Indy, Welker made it sound like McDaniels is working as a type of consultant.
"He's helped out, but for the most part he's just kind of laying back and observing," Welker said. "He's in all the meetings and everything else. But for the most part he's just kind of sitting back and letting Billy do his thing."