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Bill OBrien inherited a Penn State program rocked by scandal, on the cusp of crippling sanctions, and staring at a murky future. All he ever really cared about was making the Nittany Lions winners. OBrien succeeded against heavy odds, overcoming a lack of scholarships, a bowl ban, and player defections. He leaves the program on stable ground after bolting Happy Valley for the NFL and the Houston Texans. Penn State planned to act fast to find his successor. "Our anticipation is that well be counting this in a matter of days rather than weeks," Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner said Thursday. OBrien left the Nittany Lions less than two years after replacing Joe Paterno, returning to the NFL to coach the team with the leagues worst record this season. Naturally, Joyner said there has been tremendous interest already in the vacancy, which should be more appetizing than in 2012. A former offensive co-ordinator for the Patriots, OBrien took on perhaps college footballs toughest job in January 2012, joining a school rattled by the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. "I think its a lot more attractive at this point, although we had tremendous interest even in spite of everything two years ago," Joyner said. "From a scholarship standpoint, were going to be very competitive right out of the gate. Watching whats happened here the last two years, if I was a head coach candidate, would make me very excited." Defensive line coach Larry Johnson is interim head coach while the search for a replacement goes on. "Im humbled by the confidence that Penn State has bestowed upon me during this critical time for the football program and honoured to do my part to help Penn State," Johnson said. OBrien will become the third coach in Texans history, following Dom Capers, who led the team from its expansion season in 2002, and Gary Kubiak. OBrien was set to be introduced Friday in Houston. Kubiak took over when Capers was fired after a 2-14 season in 2005. Kubiak went 61-64 and led the Texans to their first two playoff appearances and two AFC South titles before being fired in early December. Houston was expected to contend for the Super Bowl this season, but instead lost nine games by a touchdown or less to end up 2-14. "In your lifetime, you only get certain opportunities so many times," OBrien told reporters at a Houston airport. "This is a great opportunity to work with an owner like Mr. (Bob) McNair and an organization like the Texans. It is a very exciting time for myself and my family." OBrien was proud of his time at Penn State. "They gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach, and Ill always thank them for that," he said. "Theyre great kids at Penn State; lot of great people there." OBrien was the first major defection this week. Third-team All-American wide receiver Allen Robinson decided Thursday to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the NFL draft. Robinson set Penn State season records in receptions (97) and yards receiving (1,432) for the second consecutive year. He wrote on Twitter: "It was a honour to wear a penn state uniform for 3 years. I will miss my teammates and coaches, blessed for the opportunity and experience." Robinson at least gave the program three years. OBrien only lasted two. "I believe that Bill OBrien came here with the intent to be here for a long haul," Joyner said. OBrien, who helped lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the 2011 season, arrived in Happy Valley after apprenticeships coaching at Brown, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke, followed by five years as an NFL assistant on Bill Belichicks staff. He won games and won over players with a stern look on his face. OBrien did it all in Paternos shadow. Over the course of his 61 years at Penn State, Paterno became not just the face, but the cantankerous soul and benefactor of a school that was transformed from a "cow college" into a top-shelf public university. Joyner said OBrien never seemed affected by the Paterno loyalists who were slow to warm to an outsider running the program. "Bill handled that very well, with grace and style," he said. "I really believe that he loved it here. From the get-go, he looked at himself as a long-termer. But I think a tremendous opportunity came up for him." While some scholarships have been restored, Penn State lacks the full allotment other Big Ten schools -- including new members Rutgers and Maryland -- have at their disposal. As for candidates to replace OBrien, Greg Schiano has Penn State ties and may want to return to college after two forgettable seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While at Rutgers, Schiano was viewed as an Eastern recruiting expert who built the Scarlet Knights into a consistent bowl team by landing players from New Jersey to Miami. Vanderbilts James Franklin and Miami coach Al Golden, a former Penn State captain under Paterno, could both be at the top of the list. Joyner said school ties arent a must for the new coach. "People that have been affiliated with Penn State understand and are part of that great tradition," he said. "Its not a requirement going forward, but its something that will be in the thought process in the selection of the next great football coach at Penn State." Cheap Jordan 5 NZ ., will experience this week. A year in which the Canadian curling championship has been pushed forward a week to accommodate the Winter Olympics was deemed the perfect chance to stage the event in Montreal for the first time since 1979. Air Jordan 5 Retro NZ . 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MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has made his philosophy well known by now: construct the foundation through the draft and use free agency to supplement the core of the roster. Coming off of a five-win season and with so many holes to fill, Spielman needed to be a little more aggressive on the open market to take some of the pressure the looming draft. Spielman capped a busy first week of free agency by signing receiver Jerome Simpson and cornerback Derek Cox to one-year deals on Friday, saying he needed to move quickly to shore up the defence and give them some freedom for the May draft. The Vikings spent big money to keep defensive end Everson Griffen and sign defensive tackle Linval Joseph to replace Jared Allen and Kevin Williams. They also worked hard to keep quarterback Matt Cassel and get cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to help beef up the struggling defensive backfield, while sprinkling in Simpson, Cox and Fred Evans on one-year deals for depth. "By doing that, it sure helps you head into the draft not to get boxed in; well, youve got to take this position," Spielman said on Friday. "Now we have that flexibility to see how the draft is going to fall -- and I do believe this is a very deep draft and the potential of moving up or down in the draft to accumulate picks -- youre still going to be able to add a lot of youth and a lot of young talent that can come in and help our ball club." The Vikings pick No. 8 overall in the draft, which starts May 8. Addressing many of their most pressing needs in free agency frees Spielman to get creative. With Cassel, he doesnt have to draft a quarterback early. With Joseph there to occupy double teams, he doesnt have to get a run stuffer to play next to last years first-round pick, Sharrif Floyd. With Munnerlyn on one corner opposite Xavier Rhodes, and Cox added to a group that also includes Marcus Sherels and Josh Robinson, he doesnt have to draft a cornerback rright away.dddddddddddd. The aggressiveness also gives a new coaching staff that includes head coach Mike Zimmer, offensive co-ordinator Norv Turner and defensive co-ordinator George Edwards, a solid veteran base with which to work. "I think by the activity that weve done so far, its by no means the end of what were going to do," Spielman said. "Well continue to monitor the market and work through the next couple weeks. But it gives us the flexibility that well need heading into the draft, where you dont have to hone and say you have to take this position. Again, with the opportunity as we develop our draft board to take the best available player." Simpson bounced back from an injury-plagued first season in Minnesota in 2012 with a solid season last year. He caught 48 passes for a career-high 726 yards in 2013 and expressed a desire to return to the Vikings when the season closed. Spielman said the Vikings like the deep threat Simpson brings to the table alongside fellow receivers Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson. But Simpson could face discipline from the league for a drunken driving arrest when next season opens. "He does have explosive speed down the field and does give us a vertical threat, but we felt confident enough and comfortable enough after the new coaching staff had met with him and understand the whole circumstance behind that last arrest that we re-signed him back to a one-year deal," Spielman said. Spielman said the Vikings were in talks to bring back left guard Charlie Johnson and were not closing the door on a possible return for Williams, the stalwart defensive tackle who has anchored Minnesotas line since 2003. The Vikings hosted defensive tackle Henry Melton for a visit, but he left on Thursday without a deal. "Theres no decision thats been made," Spielman said of Williams. "I told him wed leave it open. 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