Bill O'Brien the football coach is easy to imagine. But how about Bill O'Brien the stand-up comedian?
Penn State receivers coach Stan Hixon said his boss would be terrific at it.
"He's the only guy I know as a coach who could probably make money as a comedian," Hixon said, "because he has a funny bone in him, and he loves to have fun."
Hixon first encountered O'Brien when they worked together at Georgia Tech in the 1990s. Not only, Hixon said, was O'Brien good with offense and the computer back then, he also was the comic relief.
"He could mimic any coach on the staff," Hixon said on a teleconference Thursday. "I think at the time it could have been George O'Leary, myself, Ralph Friedgen, Doug Marrone. ... He could mimic a guy to the T, and the staff would just bust out laughing."
It's all clean jokes, nothing dirty, Hixon said, and always football related.
Hixon went on to coach with LSU, the Redskins and the Bills, and he always told his colleagues, "There's one guy I know that could make money being a comedian, and that was Bill O'Brien."
Joking aside, Hixon always knew back then that O'Brien had what it took to succeed in the coaching profession.
"When it's time to work it's time to work, and he's one of the hardest workers I've ever been around," he said.
Praise for A-Rob
Hixon has coached NFL receivers and college standouts, which makes what he said Thursday about PSU's Allen Robinson carry a lot of weight.
"In my years of coaching wide receivers, he's one of the best, if not the best, receiver I've had," Hixon said. "And I've had some first-rounders, some second-rounders."
There's no doubt, he added, about Robinson's future as an NFL receiver.
"He's definitely going to play," Hixon said.
The only question is when.
Robinson, who had 77 receptions last year and already has 14 in two games this season, is a junior and could decide to turn pro after this year.
"When the time comes, he's going to be ready," Hixon said. "He has the work ethic, has the ability, has the ball skills and has the physical toughness. He's going to be a pro player. When he and his family make that decision is up to them."
He then added what all Penn State fans have to be thinking.
"I'd like to keep him as long as I can," Hixon said.