Bill O'Brien leaves Penn State for Houston Texans

USA TODAY Sports

We have another significant job opening, as Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien is reportedly leaving for a job with the Houston Texans. We break down what it means for 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

A fairly sizable domino appears to have fallen in the head coaching ranks. ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen are reporting that Penn State coach Bill O'Brien is leaving the school to become head coach of the Houston Texans. The Texans fired Gary Kubiak earlier this season, and O'Brien was one of the first coaches they approached.

This removes one of the NFL coach openings, but it also opens the door at Penn State. While plenty of NFL coaches would not take a step back to the college ranks, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman could end up on the radar in Happy Valley.

Two years ago, Roman was reportedly a finalist for the job eventually given to Bill O'Brien. During that process, he said in a radio interview that he viewed the Penn State job as a "lifetime job", and one that allowed for a routine where he spent time between Happy Valley and New Jersey. Roman does not have connections at Penn State, but he's originally from New Jersey, so he knows the region to some extent.

There have been extensive reports that Penn State is prepared to approach Greg Schiano. Those reports actually started last week before Schiano was even fired. The pool of candidates is likely pretty extensive, although it could depend in part on how Texas fills their job. Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin is a popular candidate. He is reportedly in the mix at Texas, and I imagine Penn State might be interested as well.

Greg Roman has not yet been officially connected with any job. NFL.com reported Roman would like the Detroit Lions job, and there were some reports Washington might be interested in him to replace Mike Shanahan. These are very basic rumors at this point.

Whomever might be interested, Roman cannot participate in any NFL interviews until after the 49ers wild card game on Sunday. If the 49ers win, NFL teams can ask for permission to interview him that following week before the divisional round. If the 49ers lose, I imagine it's a free-for-all.

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