Going into the football season, wide receiver might be Temple's deepest position. But keeping a coach for those players was one of the team's biggest offseason challenges.
The Owls have had three wide receivers coaches in the last two and a half months. New coach Geoff Collins retained last year's receivers coach, Frisman Jackson. But in mid-January he left to take the same position with the NFL's Tennessee Titans.
Keith Gaither was hired from Army to replace Jackson, but he resigned to accept the same position on March 7 at Temple's American Athletic Conference opponent East Carolina.
On March 16, four days before the beginning of spring practice, the Owls hired veteran Stan Hixon, who arrived at Temple with 36 years combined of college and NFL coaching experience. All but five of his seasons as an assistant have been as a receivers coach.
It has been a whirlwind for the 59-year-old Hixon, who played receiver at Iowa State and last coached in 2015 as the receivers coach with the Houston Texans.
"I got here on Saturday [March 18]. We had a meeting on Sunday and practiced on Monday [March 20]," Hixon said on Tuesday. "This week has been a lot better than last week."
The receivers say that what has helped in the musical receiving coaching chair is that Hixon comes with such an extensive resume. It includes winning a national championship coaching for Nick Saban at LSU in 2003, and coaching receivers for six years for the Washington Redskins and two more years each with the Buffalo Bills, Penn State and the Texans.
"When I visited Penn State he was coaching there, and I remembered his face," said Temple senior receiver Adonis Jennings, who ended last season strong with two 100-yard receiving games in his last three contests. "Coach is a really good coach and has been in the game for a long time, and I am glad for him to be my coach."
After Gaither departed for East Carolina, Temple's leading returning receiver, Ventell Bryant, said he and some teammates went to Collins with a request.
"We asked him if he would pick a wide receivers coach who had great experience and somebody who could develop us to the next level, if possible," said Bryant, a redshirt junior who caught 54 passes for 895 yards and four touchdowns despite missing three games due to injury.
And the players say they got their wish.
"We feel we have one of the best wide receivers coaches in the nation," Bryant said. "He has great experience, has coached a lot of great receivers and listening to him, talking to him every day, getting his perspective on playing football is really helping us."
Hixon says offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude has done a great job catching him up to speed, teaching him the offense.
"Football is football. It is just a matter of putting the Xs and Os" together, Hixon said. "What we call something [at] one place is different here, and you have to learn the terminology."
The learning curve will continue this spring, not only for the receivers but their new coach.
Hixon said he stayed involved in his year out of coaching by doing consulting work and coaching at camps and clinics. He also visited college and NFL camps.
Hixon understands he inherits a talented position and in a self-deprecating style added, "I just don't want to screw it up."