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Auburn coaching rumors: Bill O'Brien says he's staying at Penn State

Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien reaffirmed his commitment to the Nittany Lions Tuesday.

Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, who has been mentioned as a possible candidate at Auburn, said Tuesday that he will stay with the Nittany Lions next season:

"I plan on being the head football coach at Penn State (in 2013)," O'Brien said Tuesday in an interview with 790 AM "The Zone" in Atlanta. "That's my plan and that's what I intend to do."

O'Brien has been rumored to be looking for an exit from Happy Valley due to harsher-than-expected NCAA sanctions resulting from the Jerry Sandusky scandal. O'Brien's name has been mentioned for multiple jobs, including Auburn and Tennessee. His agent, Joe Linta, also reassured Penn State fans with comments to ESPN Tuesday:

"(O'Brien) is staying, and we've had no conversations with anyone else," Linta said. "In fact, he's leaving at 6 in the morning tomorrow to go out on the recruiting trail."

Just as with any candidate, O'Brien's words will be examined carefully. You'll notice he never said, "I will be the head coach at Penn State," he said, "I plan on being the head football coach at Penn State," which does leave some wiggle room.

While some fans may be underwhelmed with the name, O'Brien would be a solid hire. He led a Penn State team left for dead to an 8-4 record this season, and he convinced many players and recruits to stick with the Nittany Lions in the wake of the Sandusky scandal. However, he's always been a longshot to come to Auburn, and Tuesday's comments reinforce that fact.