Ohio State is hiring former Houston Texans and Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien as its offensive coordinator, a person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Thursday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the hire still needed university approval, but an announcement was expected as soon as Friday.

ESPN first reported Ohio State was hiring O'Brien.

Buckeyes coach Ryan Day has been Ohio State's primary play-caller since being promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach in 2019 to replace Urban Meyer. Bringing in an experienced play-caller at both the college and NFL level could allow Day to hand off those responsibilities.

Brian Hartline was offensive coordinator for the Buckeyes last year, and will remain on staff as wide receivers coach.

The Buckeyes (11-2) ranked 25th in the country in yards per play (6.38) last season, their worst showing since 2016. Ohio State lost to Michigan for the third straight year and then dropped its bowl game against Missouri, playing with a third-string quarterback after starter Kyle McCord transferred and backup Devin Brown was injured.

O'Brien, 54, spent seven seasons as coach of the Texans, going 52-48 from 2014-20 and working with quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Before that he coached at Penn State for two seasons, taking over for Joe Paterno and going 15-9 with a program that was dealing with severe NCAA sanctions after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

O'Brien returned to college after being fired by the Texans, joining Nick Saban's staff at Alabama as offensive coordinator for two years. He coached Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young in 2021.

O'Brien returned to the NFL and the New England Patriots this season as offensive coordinator. His first stint working for Patriots coach Bill Belichick was from 2007-11. He was quarterbacks coach for Tom Brady from 2009-11.

At Ohio State, O'Brien should have plenty to work with.

The Buckeyes brought in Kansas State quarterback Will Howard and Mississippi running back Quinshon Judkins as transfers earlier this month and bring back wide receiver Emeka Egbuka and running back TreVeyon Henderson, who both decided to return to school instead of entering the NFL draft.

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