O'Brien will fulfill his duties in New England before taking over the Nittany Lions.
O'Brien spent 14 seasons at the collegiate level, including a stop at Maryland. He played college football at Brown, which is Joe Paterno's alma mater.
Paterno was fired two months ago in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse charges.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.