Not even a thrilling upset of then-No. 3 Florida State on Oct. 6 could save O'Brien’s job.
Safety Earl Wolff said Sunday evening that he didn’t think O'Brien deserved to be fired.
“We’ve had a lot of kind of mental breakdowns during the season … so it’s not all on the coaches at all,” he said. “It’s on us players, too.”
O'Brien also faced some questions in the spring of 2011, when he parted ways with three-year starting quarterback Russell Wilson, who was attempting to play both minor league baseball and football at the high FBS level.
Wilson transferred to Wisconsin for his senior season, led the Badgers to the Rose Bowl and wound up winning the starting job with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks as a rookie this year.
O'Brien’s choice certainly appeared justified when Mike Glennon — who took over for Wilson — led the ACC in passing this season, averaging 304 yards.
The school says a national search for O'Brien’s replacement will begin immediately, though Yow said the list of candidates won’t include Vanderbilt coach James Franklin. Franklin was an assistant to former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen and named coach-in-waiting while Yow was athletic director there, but Yow said she’s “assuming” Franklin wouldn’t be interested in the job.