There were several reports out there over the last several hours that Nathaniel Hackett would be leaving Syracuse to join Doug Marrone on the Buffalo Bills coaching staff. The Syracuse Post-Standard and ESPN reported first that Hackett is signing with Buffalo, and Tim Graham of the Buffalo News reports that not only is the move official, but Hackett will be getting the task of being the Bills new offensive coordinator.
The move is at least mildly surprising after Marrone hinted strongly during his Monday press conference he’d be hiring an offensive coordinator with NFL coaching experience.
“Obviously with the coordinators we want people who have thorough NFL experience, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” Marrone said just Monday. “Offensively we want people with NFL experience. I think (with) our coordinators we want to make sure they’ve been in this league.”
Hackett has four years of experience in the NFL, including two in Buffalo, but those were only as an offensive quality control assistant under Dick Jauron in 2008-09 and the same role in Tampa for two years before that.
Hackett joined Marrone’s staff as Syracuse in 2010 as the team’s quarterback coach and became the offensive coordinator in 2011. Syracuse averaged a school-record 476 yards of offense per game last season.
Clearly Hackett, 33 is a guy Marrone has confidence in and comfortable coaching with. Marrone has stated he would oversee all areas of the team, but the person he hired as coordinator would be calling the plays.
Nathaniel is the son of Paul Hackett, who had a 41-year coaching career in college and the NFL, including three years as head coach at USC.
Buzz in football circles have Hackett pegged as a rising star in the coaching ranks. Still, I get a strong sense this move won’t be well received by Bills fans, at least not initially. Marrone already is being regarded as a high-risk, high-reward choice for head coach and I’m quite certain Hackett will be viewed the same.
We’ll have much more on this developing story as details and reaction becomes available.