The latest installment in the Meet The Coaches series brings us to new assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Stan Hixon. Hixon has a good mix of experience in both the NFL and the college game, and also has a very nice track record of coaching and developing productive wide receivers. LEGGGGGOOO.
Hixon played wideout at Iowa State in the late 70s, but never went on to play professionally. Instead, Hixon got into the coaching profession in 1980, sooo... let's look at that now.
Hixon began his career at Richmond in 1980, making stops at Morehead State and Appalachian State before landing at South Carolina in 1988. In 1993, he moved on to Wake Forest, where he coached running backs for two seasons. In 1995, Hixon went on to Georgia Tech, where he worked with Bill O'Brien and several other members of the new Penn State coaching staff. In 2000, Hixon took a job at LSU under Nick Saban, and was part of the 2003 National Championship team. One of his players while at LSU, Josh Reed, won the Biletnikoff Award under his tutelage, which is pretty damn incredible if you remember who Josh Reed is.
After 2003, Hixon jumped to the NFL, where he worked for the Washington Redskins (2004-2010) and Buffalo Bills (2010-2011). It's kind of hard to draw conclusions from anyone working for the Redskins over the past decade because Dan Snyder is Dan Snyder, but I can personally speak to his tenure with the Bills.
For the few of you that haven't seen me shoehorn the Bills into a conversation in the comments, I am a Bills fan, and I have seen/subjected myself to every game they've played during Hixon's tenure in Buffalo. In that time, the team was terrible, but the wide receivers were an undeniable bright spot. They've done a better job than any team in the league in taking late round draft picks and undrafted free agents and turning them into productive players. In just the past two seasons, the Bills have seen a 7th round pick in Stevie Johnson turn into a star, and had very significant contributions from UFAs David Nelson, Donald Jones and Naaman Roosevelt. Before suffering season ending injuries in the past two seasons, Roscoe Parrish was putting up career numbers in catches and yardage. All of this was done with very dodgy quarterback play. Besides the measurable stats, the receivers have become immeasurably better blockers in the past two years, which helped to make Fred Jackson possibly the most underrated player in the NFL.
So yeah, I'm a fan of this hire. It's weird, because I'm upset that he's not going to be with the Bills anymore, but if he's got to go somewhere, you know?
Decent. Derek Moye is a huge loss, but basically every other contributor in 2011 is coming back. With the arrival of new offensive coaches, I'm hoping that Devon Smith will be used correctly, rather than exclusively go deep or run end arounds. I'm excited to see what Curtis Drake, Bill Belton and Allen Robinson can do this year, because each of them showed varying degrees of flash this past year. So yeah, I think the wide receivers should be fine.
Positive. Despite the loss of Moye, there's still a fair amount of talent for Hixon to work with. Of all the position groups on this team outside of linebacker, this may be the one I'm least concerned about.