Bill O’Brien is in his second season with the Blue Devil football program and serves as Duke’s offensive coordinator while coaching the quarterbacks.
In 2006, O’Brien will tutor returning Blue Devil quarterbacks Zack Asack and Marcus Jones. As a rookie in 2005, Asack started six of the final seven games and finished the season with 90 completions in 180 attempts for 966 yards and five touchdowns. An honorable mention Freshman All-America choice by The Sporting News, Asack’s season included a 328-yard passing performance at Clemson in week 10 and the Westwood, Mass., native finished seventh nationally among freshmen in passing yards.
The 2006 edition of Duke football returns its top three ground gainers from a season ago including Justin Boyle, Ronnie Drummer and Re’quan Boyette. The trio combined for 1,047 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2005 and each boasts a touchdown run of over 75 yards.
“You want your football team to be on the attack mode,” Roof commented. “(Coach O’Brien) is a pretty intense guy and he has added something in that regard. I am pleased with what we are doing offensively. The thing I am most pleased about is their commitment to spending the time to learn and putting in the effort. It still comes down to blocking and making plays no matter what offense you run. I know we are on the right track.”
The Andover, Mass., native came to Durham after spending the last two seasons on the staff at Maryland, where he coached the running backs and helped the Terrapins to a 15-9 overall record and a Gator Bowl victory over West Virginia in 2003. In 2003, Maryland finished second in the ACC in rushing offense by averaging 191.3 yards per contest as two backs — Josh Allen and Bruce Perry — averaged over 70 yards per game apiece while combining for 1,635 yards and 14 touchdowns.
A 1992 graduate of Brown, O’Brien served eight seasons on the staff at Georgia Tech, coaching alongside current Duke staffers Roof, David Kelly and Glenn Spencer during the tenure. He was a graduate assistant on offense from 1995-97 before being elevated to coach the running backs for the next three seasons. In each of his three seasons coaching the running backs, the Yellow Jackets finished no lower than third in the ACC team rushing rankings, and the 1998 Tech club went 10-2, captured the league title and defeated Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl.
In his final two campaigns in Atlanta, 2001-02, O’Brien served as the offensive coordinator while coaching the Yellow Jacket quarterbacks. Georgia Tech’s 2001 offense, featuring 1,000-yard rusher Joe Burns and the ACC’s leading passer George Godsey (3,085 yards), led the league in passing while ranking third in scoring. Burns, wide receiver Kelly Campbell and offensive tackle Nat Dorsey all earned first team All-ACC accolades for their efforts that season while Godsey went on to capture MVP honors of the 2001 Seattle Bowl.
Georgia Tech won 15 total contests during O’Brien’s two-year stretch as offensive coordinator while playing in a pair of bowl games (2001 Seattle Bowl & 2002 Silicon Valley Football Classic). He also spent two seasons (1999-00) as Tech’s recruiting coordinator and his last year (2002) as an assistant head coach.
O’Brien got his start in coaching at his alma mater, coaching the tight ends in 1993 and inside linebackers in 1994. He was a three-year letterman as a linebacker and defensive end at Brown from 1990-92, and graduated in 1992 with a bachelor of arts degree with a double concentration in political science and organizational behavior management.
Born October 23, 1969, O’Brien is married to the former Colleen Corron and the couple has two sons, Jack (4) and Michael (born May 5, 2005).