Monday was an eventful day, as new head coach Bill O'Brien filled several assistant coaching vacancies. We'll get more in depth with each of them once the dust settles, but here's what Penn State fans should know about each of them.
Hixon has been the wide receivers coach for the Buffalo Bills for the past two seasons. O'Brien and Hixon previously coached together at Georgia Tech from 1995-1999. I've watched every Bills game over the past two seasons, and I can say with 100% confidence that Hixon is a great hire. The Bills haven't won very many games, but they've done and outstanding job of developing late round picks and undrafted free agents into productive wide receivers.
Bernhardt's been brought on board to be the director of player development and research. What exactly that job entails remains to be seen. Bernhardt was the recruiting coordinator at Central Florida, and also has coached defensive line and running backs. What's troubling is that while we were busy burning down the internet in November, UCF was hit with a letter of inquiry by the NCAA regarding recruiting violations involving both the football and basketball team. I suppose it's encouraging that Bernhardt was able to survive while the athletic director wasn't, but it's still something that raises an eyebrow.
McWhorter was actually out of football last year, after spending the previous nine seasons as the offensive line coach at Texas. In 2008, he was named the top assistant coach in the country by the American Football Coaches Association. Before going to Texas, McWhorter was on staff for two seasons at Georgia Tech with O'Brien.
So Ted Roof technically was the defensive coordinator at Central Florida before he agreed to take the same position at Penn State, but he never coached a game there. He spent the past three seasons at Auburn, where despite winning a BCS title, was the frequent subject of criticism. Each of his three seasons in Auburn produced a school record for yards allowed. The 2010 Penn State defense, regarded by many as one of the weaker units in recent memory, allowed 300 fewer yards than Roof's best defense at Auburn (2009). Some of these numbers may make you a bit squeamish.
So on that note... What does everyone think of the moves thus far?