On UCF's Blake Bortles: "Blake is a good-sized guy. He's an athletic guy for his size. He's an accurate passer. The guys who coached him at Central Florida think highly of him as a young man who really studies the game. He works hard at the game."
On Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel: "The only full games I've watched him on TV were last season's Alabama and Duke games. Obviously, he's a very exciting player. He's a guy who makes plays with his feet and his arm. When you watch him on TV as a fan, he looks like an instinctive player."
On Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater: "I haven't seen Bridgewater play yet. I'd be remiss if I started talking about him when I haven't seen him play."
O'Brien has seen Bortles up close and personal. Bortles led the Knights to a 34-31 victory at Penn State on Sept. 14; he threw for 288 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, and completed 74.1 percent of his passes in the win. That was his second-highest completion percentage of the season.
O'Brien also is close to UCF coach George O'Leary, who is one of his mentors: O'Brien worked for eight seasons under O'Leary at Georgia Tech. Who better to provide an unvarnished scouting report for O'Brien on Bortles than one of his mentors, who also happened to coach Bortles for four seasons?
Of the three, Bortles best fits the mold of a prototypical pocket passer, which is the type of offense O'Brien ran at Penn State and the type of offense he oversaw when he was the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator.