Bench had been reported to be even with Tyler Ferguson for starting quarterback at the end of spring practice.
In a statement released by the university, O'Brien was meeting with Bench to "discuss what they need to work on this summer" when Bench told the coach he planned to leave.
"After meeting with Steven, he informed me he wants to play elsewhere," O'Brien said. "We want what is best for Steven. I want to thank him for his contributions to the program. We wish Steven the best in the future and will assist him in any way we can."
Bench is entering his sophomore year and will be able to transfer to an FBS (Division I-A) program and play without having to sit out a year because of NCAA sanctions imposed last July on Penn State because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]