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Penn State Football: Hixon, O'Brien Flirted About Penn State a Week Before Hire

by on January 18, 2012 4:10 PM

Penn State is running exclusive videos with Bill O’Brien’s coaching staff on its website

There’s little news to note after wide receivers coach Stan Hixon and tight ends coach John Strollo sat down this week with media specialist Tony Mancuso.

Hixon, the former receivers coach for the Buffalo Bills, said he and O’Brien were in talks as early as Dec. 31 about possibly joining the Nittany Lions coaching staff if O'Brien got the job. Penn State officially hired O’Brien Jan. 6.

Wednesday, Mancuso sat down with tight ends coach John Strollo, who coached with O’Brien when the two were at Duke.

Most of the items of note concerned the position and his coaching style.

“A tight end is a guy that can block like a tackle and run routes and catch,” Strollo said. “If looks are what they are, we’ve got several of those guys.”

Penn State hasn’t had a pass-catching threat at tight end since 2009 with Andrew Quarless and Mickey Shuler. The Nittany Lions return a pair of junior tight ends in Kevin Haplea and Garry Gilliam, who hasn’t played since 2010 because of a torn ACL.

Other than football, Strollo was Q-ed on adjusting to life in State College and his impression of the university. Strollo referenced food at least three times during the 12-minute interview.

“It’s kind of got an Ivy League feel to it, the town I guess,” Strollo said. “The thing that I like the best is the training table, the food, the quality of it.”

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