COLUMBUS, Ohio — Could Bill O’Brien’s tenure as Ohio State football’s offensive coordinator last less than a month?

O’Brien has emerged as a more than speculative candidate to become head coach at Boston College. That job opened when former OSU defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley left to become the Green Bay Packers’ defensive coordinator.

Hafley spent only one season with the Buckeyes. News of O’Brien’s hire broke on Jan. 18, giving him a little over three weeks with the OSU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach titles. That had given him enough time, though, to start working with the quarterbacks — including incoming transfer Will Howard and Alabama freshman phenom flip Julian Sayin — and beginning the process of becoming the first person to whom Day entrusted oversight of his offense.

“He seems just very relatable — someone that I can get along with really well,” Howard said of O’Brien last week. “Very smart. I mean, he’s been around for how long doing this and has done some really, really good things at some really big-time places.”

If O’Brien leaves, Day must reach back for other candidates at a more advanced date. Teams have already begun winter workouts, with some beginning spring practices in less than a month. It would also takes OSU back to two staff openings, as Day has not yet hired an expected fifth defensive assistant.

O’Brien, formerly coach at Penn State and the Houston Texans, checked many of the boxes Day sought in his first true offensive coordinator. He found someone with both extensive head coaching experience and many years of play calling and quarterback tutelage experience at the highest levels. His two positions since being fired by the Texans were as offensive coordinator for Nick Saban at Alabama and Bill Belichick with the Patriots.

Family may play a factor in O’Brien’s decision. His son, Jack, suffers from a neurological disorder called lissencephaly. His family is already set up in the Boston area after his season with the Patriots.

Details of O’Brien’s financial agreement with OSU have not been released, though the Boston College job would likely pay more — possibly a difference of seven figures.

Some of Day’s other potential OC candidates — real or speculative — have since taken other jobs. Former Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen just took the same position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, if he goes for the same qualifications as O’Brien — a more veteran coach with executive experience — Toledo’s Jason Candle, Akron’s Joe Moorhead or Florida’s Dan Mullen could also make sense.

Ohio State did not retain former quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis when hiring O’Brien. That could potentially work in Day’s favor, allowing him to pair those jobs as he did with O’Brien. O’Brien technically is the co-offensive coordinator with Brian Hartline, though there are no indications Day is ready to give the receivers coach play calling duties.

If Day cannot find the OC he wants after an O’Brien departure, he could also make another quarterbacks coach hire and retain play calling duties himself for at least one more season.

That obviously was not Day’s ideal plan for 2024, though. He wants someone who can provide the experienced perspective and play calling experience Kevin Wilson did before he left after the 2022 season to become Tulsa’s coach. If O’Brien leaves, Day will presumably keep up his aggressive approach to the offseason in pursuing them.

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