Wed, Jan 03, 2018
MOBILE, Ala. (Jan. 3) - The Houston Texans and Denver Broncos have been selected to coach the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl, set for January 27 in Mobile, Ala., the Senior Bowl announced today.
"We are thrilled to have the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos as the two coaching staffs for our game," said Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage.
The Texans, led by their fourth-year head coach Bill O'Brien, will guide the South team, while Vance Joseph, in his first year as head coach of the Broncos, will guide the North.
"Both organizations are well respected across the National Football League and it is our honor to welcome them to Mobile," Savage said.
Houston has coached in the Senior Bowl one previous time, in 2003 under Dom Capers.
It finished the 2017 season with a record of 4-12 and would have picked fourth in this year's draft, however, that pick was traded to the Browns.
“The Senior Bowl is a great opportunity for our coaching staff to get a look at some of the top college players in the country," O'Brien said. "Anytime you get to work hands-on with these young players and put them through the rigors of NFL-level practices and meetings, it can be tremendously beneficial to both parties. We are all looking forward to the week and making the most of it.”
O'Brien, 48, started his coaching career at the college level, serving as an assistant at Brown, Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke before moving the NFL to work for Bill Belichick in New England for five years, the final season as the team's offensive coordinator.
He went back to the college game to serve as the head coach at Penn State, where despite heavy sanctions placed on the program for the Jerry Sandusky scandal, his team went 8-4 and he was named Coach of the Year by ESPN and won the Paul 'Bear' Bryant Coach of the Year Award. After his second season in Happy Valley, a 7-5 season, he jumped back to the NFL for his current role with the Texans.
He is 31-33 in four seasons and has guided the Texans to the playoffs twice, going 1-2 in the postseason.
"We are really happy to have the Houston Texans, head coach Bill O'Brien and his staff as part of our event this year," said Reese's Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage. "I've know Bill for quite some time and have great respect and admiration for his abilities as a coach and as a leader with his teams through the years."
Texans General Manager Rick Smith will likely not attend during the week. He announced Sunday that he is taking an extended leave of absence to take care of his wife, Tiffany, who recently was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"We want to send our best wishes to GM Rick Smith and his family as they go through this difficult time together," Savage said.
Denver was 5-11 this season and will pick fifth in the draft. The Broncos have coached in the Reese’s Senior Bowl six times, going 2-2-2 in those games.
“We jumped at the opportunity for the Broncos to work the Senior Bowl,” Broncos’ President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said. “On both the coaching and personnel sides, the experience gives us a chance to meet these prospects and get to know them on and off the field.
“The Senior Bowl has a great tradition and we are excited to be a part of it.”
“The Senior Bowl provides our staff an up-close look at some of the top prospects in this year’s draft,” said Joseph, who in 13 years of coaching in the NFL has coached in the Senior Bowl three times, all as an assistant with the 49ers (2006-2008). “Having coached the Senior Bowl in the past, it’s a tremendous evaluation tool spending all week with these players in a variety of group and individual settings.
“From the meeting rooms to the practice field, the Senior Bowl experience lets us see how these prospects work and prepare in a competitive environment.”
Joseph, 45, jumped into coaching after a brief NFL career, serving as an assistant at the University of Colorado, Wyoming and Bowling Green before moving up the NFL where he was a defensive backs coach for the 49ers, Texans and Bengals over a 10-year stretch. After one year as a defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins, he earned his first head coaching job with the Broncos.
Denver last coached in the Senior Bowl in 1989 under head coach Dan Reeves. It also coached in 1970, 1971, 1975, 1981 and 1986.
"The Reese's Senior Bowl and Denver Broncos have a relationship going all the way back to 1970 when Lou Saban coached our game, so we are super excited to have one of the NFL's most successful franchises here this year," Savage said. "We look forward to working with John Elway and head coach Vance Joseph to make this a very productive week for their organization."
Players will arrive by Jan. 22 to begin practices the next day. The 69th Reese’s Senior Bowl is scheduled for January 27 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. CT.
Both the NFL Network and ESPN will televise the practices during the week and NFL Network will carry the game live on Saturday.