Nebraska Week Q&A with Asst. Coach Stan Hixon

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions travel to Nebraska on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. kick (ABC/ESPN2) in Memorial Stadium.

As the team puts the final touches on the gameplan, take a look through some remarks from assistant head coach and receivers coach Stan Hixon.

8285462.jpegQ: Has Allen Robinson exceeded your expectations this season?
Hixon
: "He really has not.  Working with him in the spring, I kind of knew right off the bat that he was really one of our better receivers.  When we came in, Allen was playing behind Justin Brown...We decided to put Allen at the starting receiver spot that he is at now, and we put Brown on the other side because we knew Allen had a chance to be a really, really good player.  He is nowhere near as good as he is going to be, but obviously he is off to a great start.  He is learning as we go.  The more looks he gets, the better he is going to be because he is tall, strong and fast."

Q: How much has Brandon Moseby-Felder improved this season?
Hixon
: "With Brandon, he is playing faster.  His route running has really improved from spring.  In spring ball, he was there for like five to eight days before he pulled a hamstring.  Over the summer, he wasn't full speed.  The first three or four weeks in the season he started to hit his stride.  His speed has picked up and his route running (has improved).  The more balls they catch, the more confidence they have.  One thing about Brandon, he is one of the older guys we have at that position.  Brandon is really kind of the leader of the group for me, age-wise...I think he has really taken advantage of the opportunity."

Q: How do you think the receivers will match up against the Nebraska secondary?
Hixon
: "It's going to be a tough challenge.  They are big.  They have good size, strength and speed.  It's going to be a good contest.  We just try to tell our guys to continue doing what you have been doing.  We tell them to play physical as much as you can.  We just have to accept the challenge and make what we call contested catches because they do a really good job of playing man coverage, press coverage and also off coverage.  They also bring pressure.  It is going to be a challenge, but they are looking forward to it.  They have been in some big games before, and this is going to be a really big game.  Playing at Nebraska, we know it is going to be loud."

Q: Being nine games into the season, has anything surprised you about the way Coach O'Brien has led the team?
Hixon
: "With Bill, his leadership he has with the team and the staff and how he handles himself, and with what has happened it has pushed him out there even more with some things to even set the direction of the program - and for a first-year head coach, that has really exceeded my expectations watching him work every day.  He is using a lot of philosophies of coaches he has worked with before.  He is going to be even better next year...It has really exceeded my expectations of how he has handled the team.  The players have responded to him.  It's no nonsense.  What he says to them is what he means.  There is one way to do it, and it is his way."

Q: How did Coach O'Brien "recruit" you to join him on his staff?
Hixon
: "When I was at Buffalo, we obviously played each other twice a year.  We continued to talk during the year.  And the opportunity to really learn this offense, seeing what they were doing at New England and what they are still doing at New England, the offense really works.  There are so many different intricacies that you can learn.  A 30-year veteran from coaching college and pro, but still you want to get better.  Then when he told me who he was adding to the staff and some of the guys we had worked with before, and knowing how Bill was, I decided to make the change.  He is a good person and a good family guy.  And it was a good thing for me to do."


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