Old habits can be hard to break and, for Stan Hixon, coaching is an old habit and he seems to be a perfect fit for Temple football.
Hixon, 59, who has coached at a variety of places, seems the perfect candidate to replace a guy who came to Temple, stayed a couple of months, and was off to his next job as wide receivers’ coach at East Carolina.
First of all, the guy who Hixon replaced, Keith Gaither, was the coach of the wide receivers at Army, which never throws the ball.
That cannot be said of the past Hixon stops, more importantly, the current one. The Owls plan to throw the ball around the lot early and often and, with their wide receiving corps, that sounds like a plan. Hixon’s last stop was the Houston Texas where he was united with former Penn State buddy Bill O’Brien.
O’Brien ended up firing Hixon in January of 2016, but the Hixon resume withstands the test of time and his experience—although with the depth of new offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude’s experience—should be beneficial to the Owls’ offense.
I like this hiring for at least two reasons. One, Collins is a relatively young guy and Temple has had success in the past when a young head coach (Al Golden with George DeLeone and Matt Rhule with Phil Snow) has an “old head” to lean on for guidance. Two, at a variety of big-time stops Hixon must have proven himself as a recruiter and Temple having the 127th-ranked recruiting class was a huge red flag. If Collins is thinking about moving on in one or two years, that kind of class is no big deal to the coaching staff (but it will affect the fans). If he’s thinking about staying and building confidence with the fan base, he’s going to have to get Temple closer to the top half than the bottom half of the recruiting wars in a year.
Temple certainly needs a recruiter with the chops of a Fran Brown or a Terry Smith and Hixon could be that guy.
Not only was Hixon wide receivers’ coach with the Texans, but he had that job with the Redskins and the Buffalo Bills in addition to numerous college coaching stops. So he knows what it takes to develop a NFL-level talent at the position, which is good news for the Owls’ returning receivers—Ventell Byrant, Adonis Jennings, Marshall Ellick and Keith Kirkwood—who all have an NFL skill set.
Hixon can take that knowledge into homes of recruits and hopefully bring up the Owls’ recruiting ranking from 127 in the nation to respectability for Geoff Collins’ first full recruiting class.
Recruiting has to be a habit, too, and, in Hixon, the Owls have their oldest hand.
Friday: Case For the Defense