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Tuesday July 29 2014
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Sideline View: Happy Valley

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First-year Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien recently completed his first spring practice in Happy Valley. O'Brien's first staff features two members that are well known at Beaver Stadium, but many others that are not. Here's a peek.

Stan Hixon - Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers Coach: Hixon was the WR coach with the Buffalo Bills the past two seasons after coaching receivers for the Washington Redskins from 2004-09. He also served as associate head coach/receivers coach at LSU from 2000-03 and coached receivers at Georgia Tech from 1995-99, where he worked with O'Brien. He also has coached at Wake Forest (1993-94), South Carolina (1989-92), Appalachian State (1983-88), and Morehead State (1980-82).


Ted Roof - Defensive Coordinator: Ted Roof was Auburn's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2009-11, helping the Tigers capture the 2010 BCS National Championship. Roof was defensive coordinator at Minnesota in 2008 and prior to that was head coach at Duke from 2004-07 after spending two seasons as the Blue Devils’ defensive coordinator. He’s also coached at Georgia Tech, UMass and Western Carolina.


John Butler - Secondary Coach: A graduate of LaSalle College HS in suburban Philadelphia, Butler was special teams coach at South Carolina last year. He coached linebackers and special teams at Minnesota from 2007-10 and also coached at Harvard, Texas State and Midwestern State.


Charlie Fisher - Quarterbacks Coach: Fisher comes to Happy Valley after serving as the pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Miami (OH) in 2011. He coached at Vanderbilt from 2002-10, and also spent time at NC State and Temple. The Allenwood, PA, native was also the head coach at West Georgia for eight seasons.


Larry Johnson - Defensive Line Coach: LJ is entering his 17th season on the Penn State staff and 13th year coaching the defensive line. One of two holdovers from the Joe Paterno era, Johnson arrived at Penn State after 20 highly successful seasons as a high school head coach in the Washington, D.C. area


Charles London - Running Backs Coach: London spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach and scout in the NFL. He coached on the Duke staff before entering the NFL.


Mac McWhorter - Offensive Line Coach: McWhorter was Texas’ associate head coach and offensive line coach from 2005-10 after joining the Longhorns' staff as tackles and tight ends coach in 2002. His long coaching career also includes stops at Georgia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, West Georgia, Duke, Clemson and Memphis.


John Strollo - Tight Ends Coach: Stollo has coached at Ball State, Elon, Duke, Maine, Cornell, Lafayette, Massachusetts, Northeastern and Washburn.


Ron Vanderlinden - Linebackers Coach: Ron Vanderlinden is entering in his 12th year as linebackers coach. Vanderlinden was head coach at Maryland (1997-2000), defensive coordinator at Northwestern (1992-96) and a defensive assistant coach at Colorado (1983-91) prior to taking charge of the linebackers at Linebacker U.

I was in a minor league press box in Charlotte, NC, last month, taking in one of Gregory Polanco’s final triple-A games. A colleague, upon learning I was from Pittsburgh, approached me with a question.
Editor's DeskFeature One
Quick. Fill in the blank: The Steelers’ current receiving corps is (fill in the blank). Deep? Bottom-heavy? Talented yet unproven?
Feature TwoPenn StatePure Steel
Steve Blass was signed by the Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1960 and made his major league debut in 1964. From 1968 through 1972, Blass was one of the National League’s best pitchers.
Feature ThreeNorth Shore Notes
It’s an odd thought for Sterling Jenkins. It’s still a year away, but after he finishes his senior year at Baldwin High School, he’ll be playing college football at Penn State.
Feature FourHigh SchoolPenn State
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